Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance the old man noticed a small girl approaching. As the girl walked, she paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that she was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The girl came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young girl paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the girl replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The girl bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as she could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
Here at CoRE we firmly believe that change, in its most profound sense, happens at an individual level, from the inside out. In hearing one story at a time, we hope to identify where people need the most help – and, in turn, they will then be able to use the skills they have learnt to help others.
Also available in: Vietnamese