When you use your passions wisely.

When did you last sit down and think about what your passions are? Is it baking, cooking, writing, teaching, helping people or creating? And then comes the question “what is a passion”? Is it merely a more extreme version of a hobby? Is it a cause you align yourself with? Is it something you’ve been fortunate enough to work into your daily life and maybe make a career out of? I work in digital, but can I really say that my “passion” is the internet? Mine and everyone elses on the planet, or is it just something I “get”? Is my passion communication, and how to convey messages best to people?

Anyway, I have a friend and she inspired all these thoughts and questions. She doesn’t even know it. Her passion is women’s rights and spreading awareness about the issues women face on a global scale, and she blogs about it at  “Women and the Art of Change”. She’s currently studying at UCT, on exchange here in Cape Town and I can tell that this has been an enlightening period for her.

I want to commit myself to creating an online space for innovative thinking and social change. I want to give it time when I have no time. I want to stay passionate, committed and dedicated. This is the beginning of my concrete journey to repair the world.

Not only does she write (so beautifully and insightfully!) about some very important women and the causes they fought for or situations they lived through, but she paints the portraits that feature on her blog. I’ve known her a couple months now, I knew she had a blog, I only just read it the other day – and I still can’t believe how she also finds the time to make beautiful paintings!

Farnas Seifi, painted by Melanie Openheimer

Farnas Seifi, painted by Melanie Oppenheimer

Louise Shelley women's rights

Louise Shelley, painted by Melanie Oppenheimer

You know in school they ask “How can you do your bit to raise awareness about cause xyz” and then you brainstorm little ideas about what you as an individual can do? But no one ever goes and does those things. Yet here is a blog, started by a girl from Georgia, who’s traveled across the seas to Africa. I’m actually really proud of her, as she recently got contacted by some pretty big peeps to write something for them. It really shows how one person can do something if they are dedicated enough.

The plight of women isn’t something I’d consider myself “passionate” about – that sounds bad and comes across wrong, I know. I guess it’s just something I hadn’t spent too much time thinking about, but I’m really looking forward to reading more of her blog. I love what Mel has done to promote her passion and educate others, even in the tiniest way. I really hope I someday find my passion (whatever that might be defined by), even if it is simply something as simple as, I dunno… baking. If that turns out the be my passion, I’m gonna be the best darned one out there.

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