How do you define success in what you do?
During my 18-year sojourn at the Village of Arts and Humanities in inner city North Philadelphia, I witnessed the transformation of many people’s lives through their participation of our various programs in park building, house renovation, public art making, education, theater and job training.
We always try to create beauty in the work we do. Beauty comforts and brings dignity. I observed that people who were victims of drug addiction, street or home violence, and imprisonment have evolved into successful mosaic artists, filmmakers, builders, educators, performers, and entrepreneurs. Many of the young people in our programs became college graduates, professionals, and responsible working citizens.
In the unfolding of the ten-year Rwanda Healing Project in Rugerero, Rwanda, I saw how the lives of the genocide survivors and the Twa, the most discriminated and oppressed minority, transformed from destitution and despair to that of dignity and self-sustaining work with hope in the future. That means success to me.
When the work I do inspires other people to take action to make a difference, that also spells success for me.