Learning to let go

Sri Lanka does not have that much of a waste culture. Don’t scoff; it’s not an unreasonable statement. What we are, however, is a nation of hoarders par excellence. We have fought poverty cycles for so long that even the richest of us will not take many things for granted...but we will certainly take things. Then, as we clean our cupboards annually, we conjure some situation where these things would be necessary and we keep them, we hoard them.

I do not understand why between hoarding, where only one person gets to use the thing, and wasting, where no one gets it, no one seems to spot the obvious third option of what to do with our excesses: sharing. When we cook too much for a meal, why not invite other people to eat with us instead of throwing it away on the third day of storage? It does not have to be a dhaaneh to give away a few rice packets.

And those soft toys you are storing for unborn generations will never be able to compete with holographic, motion-sensing, laser-beam-emitting, multilingual teddy bears – you might as well donate them to children that have nothing to cuddle at night now and just buy the new toys when they come out for later generations.

In fact, buying new things is often better for everyone concerned. This may sound atrocious to some ears but it is economically logical: if we buy more goods made in Sri Lanka by Lankan hands then we create a demand for goods which creates a demand for employees. Needless to say, do not dispense your cash and goods recklessly.

Make informed decisions about what you buy and donate – buy products ‘made in Sri Lanka’ by Sri Lankan brands so our rupees are cycling within our country, don’t buy things that encourage needless atrocities like animal testing, give your spring-cleaning loads to organisations like Stitch that know the people who really need what you have.

It is difficult to change the trend of consumerism that society has these days but it is not impossible to change the aim of consumption. Spend because you want a reason to give your own perfectly good belongings to someone else for free.

Spend because you want all those skilled graduates to have jobs and help get their own families out of the poverty cycle. Spend because you can and you want someone else to soon have the opportunity that you have right now.

If you would like to contribute in any way or volunteer during this time please email.

ivolunteer@stitchmovement.com or visit our website www.stitchmovement.com.

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