Human Rights, Generosity & Fate


This morning, I watched a documentary film on HBO called One Small Act. It’s an amazing tale of one Swedish woman’s generosity, the boy she helped, and the desperate need for education among poor children in Kenya. But it’s also about an extraordinary coincidence.

The woman, Hilde Back, whose small donations allowed one Kenyan child, Chris Mburu, to go on to secondary school when few students could — due to lack of money — is a Holocaust survivor. Born a Jew in pre-WWII Germany, she escaped to Sweden, but her parents did not. Her father died in Theresienstadt, her mother in Auschwitz, surely the worst possible human rights violation.

Today, Chris Mburu, who attended Harvard on a Fulbright Scholarship, works for the United Nations  as a human rights advocate. He had no idea that Hilde and her family were victims of Nazi atrocities until he searched her out some years ago. Chris is also involved with an educational foundation in his homeland, named after his benefactor, Hilde Back. Sadly, his efforts are not nearly enough. Many bright, deserving young students still are denied the further education they so greatly desire.

I highly recommend this film. It is well worth ninety minutes of your time.

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