Service just because.
If there is any motive to serve, to give, to help others in need, then we are leading with our minds that see problems to solve—our beneficiaries become a means to an end. Something human gets missed, and we find sustainability an elusive goal.
If you ask a child why he or she is playing in a certain way, they will often answer, “I don’t know. Just because.” They don’t know because they are not thinking. They are feeling; creatively expressing something from the heart—they are doing what they are doing without motive.
At Mahtabe — a slight derivation of the ancient Persian name meaning “light of the moon” — we believe in service without motive, giving without motive, and helping without motive.
We do what we do, i.e., work on the root causes of poverty (broadly defined), just because. Because that is something we are called to do, and where our hearts are involved in a joyful way. Our beneficiaries become friends, partners, and co-creators, even if they are widowed single-mothers eking out $1/day in an urban slum.
Like the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, we similarly see our projects as a reflection of the natural kindness and compassion present in each one of us.
While results, change, and impact are all important, Mahtabe pays greater attention to the journey of service and to the transformative moments that make it up. Results, change, and impact then become effortless, organic, and sustainable.
Aid need not be offered in a hand up or hand out fashion. It can simply be offered.
Christopher E. Lowman