Lessons From Rihanna On Being A Humanitarian Starting Today

Rihanna was named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year!

I’m so proud of her!  She reminds me that anything is possible especially for us little island girls who grew up 162 miles apart in Grenada and Barbados.

Rihanna was recognized for her work supporting education and healthcare in Caribbean and developing countries including:

  • Building a state-of- the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Founding the nonprofit the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program [named for her grandparents] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries
  • Supporting the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls, and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today

As she accepts her award, Rihanna is humble and inspiring.  I love how she stays true to herself throughout the delivery and interjects humor.  Her speech is authentic, heartfelt and the words are relevant to all of us.

Personality in tow, Rihanna started her speech with a hair flip…

Source: The Daily Dot

You can see Rihanna’s full acceptance speech below starting at the 1:16:00 mark:

Key takeaways:

“At 17 I started my career here in America, and by the age of 18, I started my first charity organization. I went on to team up with other organizations in the following years and met, helped, and even lost some of the most beautiful souls…”

“…My grandmother, the late Clara Brathwaite, she lost her battle with cancer, which is the very reason and the driving force behind the Clara Lionel Foundation. We’re all human. And we all just want a chance: a chance at life, a chance in education, a chance at a future, really. And at CLF, our mission is to impact as many lives as possible, but it starts with just one. Just one.”

“As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.

People make it seem way too hard, man. The truth is, and what I want the little girl watching those commercials to know, is you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. You don’t gotta be famous. You don’t even have to be college-educated.”

“But it starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighborhood, you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can.

“And today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organization, one situation that touches your heart.”

“My grandmother always used to say if you’ve got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”

I appreciate Rihanna for this great reminder!  We don’t need to have it all figured out before we lend a hand and pay it forward. We can start today with what we have as succinctly put by tennis player and activist Arthur Ashe who was also recognized by the Harvard Foundation:

Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. – Arthur Ashe

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