2013-04-23     Frédéric Ozanam

200 years ago today was the birthday of the famous French scholar Frederick Ozanam. When he was only 20 years old he established an organisation for helping poor people. That organisation, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, is now one of the largest charitable organisations in the world, with 1.3 million voluntary members in 148 countries.

Ozanam is one of many young people in history who made a difference in our world, people like Bill Gates who was 17 when he began his first major computer project,  Steve Jobs who was 21 when he and his friends began the Apple Company, Einstein who was 16 when he wrote his first paper on the theory of relativity, Steven Spielberg who wrote and directed his first large scale movie at the age of 16, and Malala the 14 year Afghan girl who is campaigning for women's rights in her country (despite being shot in the head) 
and many others

One of Ozanam's concerns was that the poverty gap between rich and poor people causes social instability. His words are a challenge to young people today:  Many people have too much and still want more. Others do not have enough and they want to take by force what is not being given to them. A war is threatening between these two groups. On one side, the power of wealth, on the other the force of desperation. We must get in between these two groups, at least to reduce the impact if we cannot stop it. Because we are young, because we are not wealthy, we can more easily fill the role of mediators.



wpe1.jpg (77174 bytes)  As article appears in Ming Pao  of April 23.
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