Who: Saša Radovanović
In preparation for a presentation we're giving tomorrow evening, I'm just looking up some data on child poverty around the world. We were recently asked why we as Nofam have set the dream of helping 2 million children worldwide. How we arrived at this figure. It seemed high.
And indeed, it is also high! Then lets dive into the statistics. My search brings me to Unicef and the World Bank. And the numbers I find there are shocking, something I still can't comprehend as I write this piece.
It turns out that almost 1 billion children on our beautiful earth live in multidimensional poverty. 1 billion children with hardships in education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation or water. 1 billion!! My head goes 🤯 and my heart 💔.
And now, UNICEF research shows that COVID-19 is affecting children on an unprecedented scale, threatening to undo all progress made on children's rights. As a result, another 100 million children are affected by multidimensional poverty.
I almost get the feeling of, quickly going back to my own circle of influence and not thinking about these bizarre numbers…
And yet this is exactly the reason why after 15 years at an IT agency, 5 years in my own company I have been working am on a mission at Nofam.
For a long time, I looked at the outside world from my profession as an IT professional and thought, why don't you make it better and more beautiful. Why don't politicians do their best, why don't the rich on earth share their accumulated wealth more, why don't entrepreneurs invest more in society, why, why, why...
It was so easy and safe for myself to look to the outside world and wait for actions outside of myself. But it wasn't fair, especially to myself. I can only point to one person that he or she can and should do something better. And that's me.
That's why I stepped out of a career as an IT professional at the end of 2015 to a mission and founded Sosialforce as a social IT company. Some great years followed, during which we invested the profits from IT projects in projects of charities to help children. A period in which I occasionally felt Don Quixote because of the tension between business and impact. And at the end of 2020, this field of tension, together with my need (/necessity) help underprivileged children every day, ensured that my mission was continued at the Nofam Foundation.
By pure coincidence (doesn't exist… 😉) I came into conversation with Erik Jager, another dreamer who founded Nofam together with Haroet Aragelian in 2018 with the dream of helping 2 million underprivileged children towards a hopeful future.
And then everything accelerates… starting with Erik's simple question.
I'm scared? Of course not! How can a Yugo be scared?
The most important thing I have to take care of is the (financial) security of my family. And then working on impact as much as possible.
This was followed by the next question that still touches and baffles me.
'What if I remove that uncertainty and cover the financial part? What would you say then?'
My answer to that was simple: 'I am all-in'.
An alignment at home followed to determine together what we needed in terms of income to be able to live well (/normally) as a family. As Maslow's pyramid showed me in the years before, it is good to give a lot, but your own base foundation must also be in solid. (And no, money never really mattered to me. Which caused some tensions at home (sorry Issa) and at Sosialforce (sorry Olaf)…)
It turned out that Erik would rather invest in the future of children than a future of real estate. I thought I was 'crazy', but Erik can match it and even more! ❤️
Twice I have made a big (professional) leap in my life. The first time brought me to Eindhoven, Utrecht and America for work, to Kadera and children in Enschede for impact and opened my eyes within the social enterprise world. Incredible and priceless experiences.
This second jump has brought me closer to impact and shows me that love is still at the heart of our society. I know the names – not yet by heart – of 66 children we help and see them grow through the 62 involved child sponsors and the 4 charities who help. In addition, I was able to meet 12 super beautiful (professional) friends and 10 organizations that make a difference together with us.
I don't have to look very far around for support and love. How my wife and daughters supported me in my wild dreams and plans. My parents, brothers, family, friends and former colleagues. Every time I asked for help, someone stood up and shouted `I'm in`.
That is why I am also grateful that every time I can take a step that brings me closer to myself and therefore closer to society. Because in a world where 1 billion children grow up without a chance of a good education, where good health is at stake, where housing is not secure and there is a demand for food, we desperately need each other.
I wish everyone and especially the children, who are the future of our earth, the opportunities that I get time and again. Because what would be left of our humankind (read humanity) if we were not committed to a society in which everyone gets a fair chance.
That's why I'm on my mission at Nofam. Because together we can make a difference for these children. And yes, we do dream about helping 2 million children. With the aim of helping 5,000 children by the end of 2022 and 25,000 children by the end of 2023.
Child poverty (worldwide) https://www.unicef.org/social-policy/child-poverty
COVID-19 is according to UNICEF the worst crisis for children worldwide https://unric.org/nl/covid-19-according to-unicef-is-worldwide-the-worst-crisis-for-children/ p>