Each year, there is an event called Blog Action Day. Bloggers are encouraged to take a pause from their regular content to write about a topic that is important to humanity. This year, the topic is one of the most important of all; human rights.
When we learned the topic of discussion for the 2013 Blog Action Day is human rights, we were honestly a bit stumped. Though our own mission statement includes our desire “to create tools that allow passionate small businesses to build better relationships with their community,” we had never thought of it in terms of human rights. When you are going about your own daily life, running your business, paying your employees, it is easy to assume that basic human rights of all those around you are being met. But this isn’t true throughout the world (or even always right at home).
It’s easy to go about our lives and forget that people are struggling and fighting for things that we often take for granted. While we at Batchbook don’t have all the answers, we think this is an important conversation and that small businesses are in a unique position to provide some real, long lasting, economically sound solutions. It starts with becoming better educated.
What Are Human Rights?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the U.N. states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Basic human rights include access to adequate food, clothing, housing, medical care, education and freedom of speech, freedom of belief, and freedom from fear. In essence, human rights are the right for anyone to pursue life in peace without harm from others.
Many people do not have access to basic human rights due to economic circumstances, oppression, corruption, war, and other negative elements.
What Can Small Businesses Do to Help?
With a problem this big, it’s often hard to figure out how we can help. The answer is likely in a multitude of small ways, starting by educating ourselves to the human rights abuses that are happening throughout the world. Organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are working to improve human rights. Volunteering or donating to a human rights organization is one way any small business can help. The Human Rights Institute at UCONN has a comprehensive list of human rights organizations.
Small businesses are in a unique position to make dramatic and immediate changes to business practices that can have a significant impact on their communities. We’ve gathered a number of stories of some of the things small businesses are doing to better the world around them. We hope that this will inspire you to look at your own business practices that can have an impact on the basic rights of those in your local community or your world community.
- The Business Innovation Factory here in Providence, RI with their Experience Labs are rethinking how education, eldercare, and healthcare are available to all those who seek it. From their website, “Our objective is to enable transformation in our social systems including education, health care, energy and entrepreneurship.”
- FairGoTrading follows the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. From their website – “Fair Trade is about ensuring producers in developing countries get a fair price. A fair price means payment for their labour that allows them to keep their children in school, to put food on the table, and to work without environmental damage. This is no more than what we ourselves want for our families and communities. “
- TSiBA. From their website “The Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) in South Africa was founded in 2004 with a vision to “Ignite Opportunity”. Our mission is to be an innovative learning community that graduates entrepreneurial leaders who ignite opportunity and social change.”
By learning about human rights, helping organizations who are working on this issue, and adding a respect for human rights to your business principles, you can make an impact.
As you go about the rest of your day, think of one thing you can do at your small business that can make a difference. If we all do one thing, we can have a strong influence and help more people throughout the world access their basic human rights.