It’s one of our guiding values that unites us, even – and especially – in difficult times
At Alight, our seven values guide everything we do. They act as sign posts, driving how we work and how we interact with all we serve. They hold us to our promise to be the sort of humanitarian organization we want to be – and that refugees and displaced people deserve.
Among them is Do the Doable, reminding us to see the possible through the impossible, to do what we can with what’s in front of us. Be Human Centered gently guides us to see the whole universe of a person, to ask and listen, rather than assume and tell. Start with Giving helps us keep true to our purpose – that we exist to give, not to receive, working alongside others to unleash abundance in the world.
Choose Optimism is one of the seven values that underpins everything Alight does, that informs every choice. In times like these, optimism can feel both difficult to embrace and necessary to hold on to. But like all the values, we firmly believe that optimism is a choice. And if we can follow that choice, a whole world of abundance opens up along the way.
Optimism in the Era of COVID-19
“We don’t diminish the harshness of reality, but create moments and opportunities for endless possibility with the abundance that we find.” — Stephanie, Alight Team Member
Over the years, we have learned a simple but often overlooked truth: optimism is a choice. If we choose to believe that things are possible, they become so. If we choose to focus on the positive, the path becomes clear. If we choose to believe the best in people, they will exceed our expectations.
This does not mean we are blind to challenges and pain – we’re honest about the conditions we work within and all the hardships that people have gone through. We respect this, but we don’t dwell on it. We find the hope and we build on it.
Right now, in the face of COVID-19, uncertainty looms large, and hope can be difficult to find. Healthcare providers, frontline staff, and whole nations and communities are dealing with loss, fear, upheaval, and an unknown way forward. But there’s so much good happening, too – the kind of good that makes it easier to choose optimism. And in so doing, propel the good forward.
In Nakivale Refugee Settlement, neighbors are standing up for neighbors, organizing to provide soap-making training, construct hands-free washing stations, and encouraging the spread of our myth-busting coronavirus health messaging. In Myanmar and Thailand, Alight teams are finding creative ways to leverage already-established healthcare infrastructure to reach even the most difficult to access, remote communities with care and COVID-19 communications. Catholic Sisters, who we’ve partnered with through the Color Movement, are listening to their communities and getting critical tools to slow the pandemic (like face masks, soap, and hand sanitizer) into the hands of the most vulnerable.
All across the globe, Alight teams in refugee camps are doing what once felt nearly impossible – encouraging people to social distance and take the necessary precautions, while continuing lifesaving medical care, food distribution, water service provision, and counseling services. The people we serve are listening, and acting. Because just like everyone else facing this virus, they want to protect their families, and their neighbors. And together, we’re doing our very best to help keep them safe.
Despite what can feel like overwhelming challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are reasons to be optimistic. But our teams would not have acted with such determination, with such creativity, if they didn’t choose to believe in optimism in the face of such challenges. We chose to see the good, to see the possibilities, to see the abundance of goodwill, creativity, and dedication around us – and in the refugees and displaced people who make us who we are. And then to act on that choice, understanding that it will only become easier to do so.
Choosing Optimism Is In Our Hands
Choosing optimism in the face of hardship helped guide the creation of our coronavirus messaging campaign, #InOurHands. In this unprecedented moment, we saw an opportunity to join together, to keep each other safe, and to protect our most vulnerable. We chose optimism because we believed deeply in the idea that people would stand up for one another.
We’ve seen that choice, and the ripple effect it caused, spread out and reach further than we ever imagined. So far, our coronavirus prevention messaging has reached 70 million people in 44 countries.
In partnership with Tanzanian social media influencers, we’re encouraging the use of face masks while in public throughout East Africa. This video, encouraging people to wear masks, has been viewed nearly 1 million times on Instagram alone! In Pakistan, celebrities, officials and athletes are using #InOurHands to remind the public about proper handwashing and distancing – in Urdu and English. More than 18 million people in East Africa and South Asia have seen an InOurHands health messaging ad seven times or more on their mobile devices. And through partnering with Catholic Sisters and other community-based organizations – we’re reaching populations no one else is reaching.
What we’ve seen is that as we pursue and choose optimism, others are following suit – because they’re seeking optimism, too. Like us, influencers, refugees, displaced people, local leaders, and team members around the world are choosing to find the good, and to build on it. Together, we’re realizing that, far from being alone in this pursuit, we’re uncovering a collective belief in possibility, in abundance. And unleashing it together, one hand at a time.
Moving Forward: Rebuilding with Optimism
We know and believe that the circumstances that the coronavirus pandemic has created will not last forever. Choosing optimism will help get us through. But it will also help to rebuild.
As our Alight teams brace for impact but also consider ways to help communities recover and move forward in time, we’re asking ourselves: Where is the untapped abundance in front of us? What’s working already, and what is giving people hope? What can I build on and make better? What are the bright spots, shining through in the dark?
We believe that people aren’t defined by their circumstances. That a remarkable life is not canceled out by displacement. Everyday, we’ll work to see joy and potential, where it’s sometimes too easy to see only pain. We’ll seek out abundance, instead of seeing only scarcity.
The world won’t be the same after COVID-19. But, as we choose optimism over and over again, we’ll face the new realities, and new challenges, together.
You Can Choose Optimism in the Fight Against COVID-19
Stopping the spread of the coronavirus is in our hands. This is the moment to join together, to keep each other safe, to protect our most vulnerable, and to spread kindness. Now more than ever, we need to view humanity as a whole—rather than as separate countries on a map. We need to remember to see the good, to choose optimism, and to let that choice unlock endless possibilities to help.
There are many ways you can choose optimism. By assisting our coronavirus relief efforts in refugee camps around the globe, you are putting a stake in the ground for good. If you have any questions about Alight or our programs, don’t hesitate to contact us.