On Independence Day, Americans celebrate with fireworks, barbeques, and joyous gatherings. We celebrate our “Americanness” whole-heartedly today and believe our national identity is a representation of the freedom that we gained in 1776. With that being said, none of us were alive in 1776! In fact, the majority of us don’t have relatives that were in this country during independence. Yet, our desire to celebrate our love for this country manifests within us because of the freedoms it brought us. In many other countries, people remember their fight for independence and have seen the changes that it wrought, and they celebrate their freedom in their own unique ways.
In Ghana for example, Independence Day is March 6, 1957. Therefore, an entire generation of Ghanaians has lived pre-independence. Many Ghanaians can retell how their life has been directly affected due to independence.
In India, Independence Day is on August 15, 1947. Flag-hoisting and national anthem singing are key components of marking the occasion. Elementary school students tell the stories of revolutionary heroes and learn about the struggles which brought their country independence.
Malawi celebrates its independence on July 6, 1964. In 2009 on Independence Day, crowds traveled to Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre to listen to the president, Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, speak.
Like the United States, the people of these countries proudly celebrate the freedom that they’ve gained. This summer, as we celebrate our freedom, take a moment to think about those celebrating their own days of national pride throughout the year, despite the fact that many people cannot fully enjoy these hard-won freedoms because of rampant poverty and no access to the help they need to lift themselves out of it.
When you support Opportunity International, you’re providing financial opportunities to the people of these countries, offering them financial services that ensures their economic security and enables them to enjoy the freedoms that their peers and their forefathers fought for.
For example, Opportunity India client Deepa (pictured above) was a part of a marginalized gypsy community in Chennai. With no opportunities to advance economically, she would have found it very difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty. Instead, Deepa was able to obtain a loan from Opportunity to sell tiffin boxes and other plastic products, and she was able to grow her business, eventually expanding it to encompass more products.
This Independence Day, remember not only America’s heroes but consider supporting Opportunity, enabling women like Deepa around the world in marginalized groups enjoy the freedom they deserve.
This post was written by Tara Kumar, an intern in the Outreach & New Initiatives department at Opportunity International and an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago.