100 heroes: Looking for inspiration?
To introduce a resource which students may turn to when feeling depressed (SEAL theme: Motivation).
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To introduce a resource which students may turn to when feeling depressed, poorly motivated and lethargic (SEAL theme: Motivation).
Preparation and materials
- This assembly is based on an article in the Guardian, Friday 23 December 2011.
- Visit Tithiya Sharma’s website, www.100heroesproject.com
- Project details of this website in the most appropriate way for your school: network, bulletin, PowerPoint, etc. (see section 4).
- Leader (in the cheesy pseudo-American voice of a TV advert) Is your life dull and without inspiration? Do you wake up in the morning and wonder whether or not to get out of bed? Do you spend the day thinking, ‘I really can’t be bothered?’ When you lay your head on the pillow at night do you say, ‘Well, that’s over for another day?’
If that’s you, then there’s only one solution: you need a hero.
- Tithiya Sharma felt like that. It wasn’t because she was unsuccessful. In fact, she had a very good job as a journalist in New Delhi, earned a lot of money, rented a fancy apartment in a fashionable part of the city and had a great circle of friends. But she was in a rut. She needed a change. So she left her job, sold her possessions and went out into the world to search for a hero.
- Over the past two years Tithiya has travelled across five continents and visited more than thirty-two countries. She’s seen the life of the privileged and the struggle of the oppressed. She’s shared in the culture of people from different religious faiths and those who have no faith at all. She’s slept in the homes of the wealthy and eaten with the very poor. And during her travels she’s met over a hundred individuals who she would call heroes.
These heroes range from:
a social worker who organizes activities for job seekers and disaffected teenagers in the notorious City of God favela (shanty town) in Rio de Janeiro, to
the founder of The Association of Kigali Women in Sports, who uses competition to bring reconciliation to Hutu and Tutsi girls in Rwanda; from
the husband and wife who provide medical and social care to rape victims in Congo, to
the founder of F C Unity, which provides football-based education and development programmes for socially, religiously and ethnically mixed groups.
- What’s been the effect on Tithiya of finding her heroes?
First, she’s been reminded of how lucky she is to be able to travel and have these experiences.
Second, she’s gained a new awareness of the value of people, rather than places or things.
Third, she’s become clear about her future career path: she will be working for a women’s rights organization.
Finally, she’s become enthusiastic about communicating the work of her heroes across the world. She wants others to be inspired just as she has been. Which is why I’m passing on to you the details of her website. (Project details of the website, see ‘Preparation and materials’.)
- But what makes a hero? Tithiya believes it’s not about the number of people who someone helps. It’s more about the quality of the help that is given. Any of us can be a hero if we help the life of one person in a really meaningful way.
The heroes Tithiya talks about are people who
put the pieces of the puzzle together;
engage consistently in small acts of kindness;
gather separated people together; and, above all,
don’t give up.
Time for reflection
Could you be the hero within your demotivated drama group,
in your sports team who are on a losing streak,
with your mum who’s worn out coping with a job as well as looking after the family,
by regularly bringing a spark of life to a lonely person who can’t get out of their home?
Maybe today we could take a journey around our own school community and find the heroes. I suspect there are quite a few.
Maybe we could find some inspiration from them so when we get up tomorrow morning we have a good reason to get out of bed! And when we’ve got out of bed, maybe we could attempt to be a hero.
thank you for the inspiration of the heroes
we see around us and in the world at large.
May we take their example and become heroes ourselves,
even if only in a little way.
‘Search for the hero’ by M People