Equal Life Foundation (ELF) is a Section 21 not-for-profit company established in South Africa by a group of like-minded individuals wanting to make a tangible difference in the world. Our vision has been, and remains, being part of helping humanity to become that which we always should have been: The guardians of life.
We stand by a simple set of principles that guide our actions, thoughts and words:
- The world system is a reflection of humanity
- We (collectively as the human race) have created the world system as it is now. We cannot blame anyone else, and yet most of us feel completely powerless to change anything. We believe that the system is some giant, independent entity that determines how we will live in almost every way. That of course is quite irrational, but it's how most of us live! It is our words and actions that shape the world around us. Yes, some individuals may have played a larger role in the shaping of the world, but that does not remove our individual responsibility. We are all responsible, we all shape the world in large and small ways.
- There is no ONE problem OR solution
- The issues we face in the world are certainly not caused by one thing, that is simple to see. However, we often behave as if there is one solution that can be applied to all the myriad issues and solve them all. This cannot and will not work. We are facing a dynamic and interconnected set of problems, often where one issue feeds and compounds the effects of another (or many others). Consider for a moment the cyclical and self-perpetuating nature of poverty: An individual is born into poverty, and is shaped by their environment. Their entire world seems to be telling them they are worthless, so they are most likely to believe for all of their life that they are worthless. Their actions are defined by that belief of themselves, dictating what kinds of choices they will make (turning to substance abuse as an escape, for example). Every attempt to uplift themselves is met with the re-affirmation of their worthlessness. In turn, the society that abandoned them becomes equally worthless, increasing the chances that that individual will become a criminal.
- ELF's approach is holistic within the recognition of the importance of the human element - it is the common denominator in every single global/societal issue.
- Principles ELF stands by
- Do unto another as you would like to have done unto yourself, had you lived that person's life and been standing in their shoes. This sounds simple enough, but the process of taking into consideration all the different parts of another person can be quite challenging. It is difficult to think differently to how we have always thought and seen the world. Standing in someone else's shoes means also seeing through their eyes, the way they see the world from the perspective of their life experiences.
- All life is inherently equal. We are all different expressions of the same life force/essence.
- Every living being is entitled to a life of dignity. You, me, animals, plants, fish - we all should get to enjoy life while we are here. This includes having access to all that we need in order to live: food, clean water, shelter, clean air, clothing, health care.
- Self responsibility. The understanding that we are inevitably the creators of ourselves, our lives, and the world around us.
- Respecting the right to life of every living being. Yes, we may end the lives of plants and animals in order to eat, but that just makes us all the more responsible for ensuring that they live and die well, without pain or fear.
- We are all made from the substance of the Earth. We are given life and nourishment by the Earth. We share our origins with all that is here on the planet with us, so the Earth and everything upon and within it belongs to us all. We are responsible for ensuring that the substance of the Earth is shared and distributed freely, within equality and equity. This means that every living being is provided with that which they need, in their individual life and within their individual context, in order to flourish.
- Education is the key to large scale upliftment of the human race. We don't mean the stuff that is currently being taught in main stream educational systems - we mean the skills required to live well, to be effective members of society, and to be able to think critically. This means being taught how to grow food, basic woodworking knowledge, basic electrical and appliance knowledge, how to disseminate information and take what is good to be applied in everyday life. In doing so, we develop largely self sufficient individuals, who are able to think critically and get to the heart of any matter they are faced with or introduced to.
- In conjunction with the right to education, is the right to work. The right to be able to develop ourselves within the skills, areas and interests that we are passionate about. Within this, it is also important to recognise that there may be jobs that pretty much no one wants to do - for those, an interesting idea may be a type of conscription for a period of 4 years once an individual reaches adulthood. This will empower them to learn about the different systems and functions that are needed to practically run our communities, as well as give them the space to meet different people and do what young adults do best - have a great time, all the time. Outside of that, being able to work will provide individuals with the sense that they are contributing to the well-being of their community, and will empower them to create the life they would like for themselves.
Equal Life Foundation's focus is in the arena of Living Rights for all life.