Most of us humans tend to take polarization as a given fact of life in society. It’s simple, and simplistic, to place everyone and everything on a spectrum and just leave it at that.

You know the classics: Democrats versus Republicans. Tea versus coffee. Dog people versus cat people. Non-profit organisations versus for-profit corporations… wait. What?

Mind you, although I’m a dog person (sorry, cats, I’m allergic to you), I enjoy both tea and coffee. I’ve also enjoyed working for the non-profit and corporate sectors and am often flabbergasted at the distinction made between the two.

Contrary to what common sense would have us believe, NGO people are not hippies teletransported from the 60s who write songs about saving the planet. Nor are corporate people the money-craving knights of capitalism some paint them to be.

Having just recently landed in the world of TIE – and this is actually what initially attracted me here – I feel lucky to be a part of a social enterprise that embraces the world as it is: complex, diverse, filled with lessons to be learned from all sides. I feel even luckier to be in touch on a day-to-day basis with NGOs and corporations that are aware of, and work to tackle, the challenges faced by the less-favoured parts of the globe.

Only a few weeks into 2019 and already this is setting out to be a truly happy new year for TIE: in the coming months, we will be facilitating over 8 projects in 7 different countries across 3 continents, ranging from theater as a way to keep children off the streets in Zambia to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemics in Northeast Brazil. And the best part is, you can live vicariously through many of our placements by following us on Instagram and Facebook, as TIE participants take over our channels to share glimpses of their unique journeys with us all.  

We all meet at the centre of the spectrum when we agree that the world must change for the better. And we’ll be many steps closer to achieving this once we identify our common ground, a foundation we can build up from together, one brick at a time.

In a world of polarization, let’s stick together. And as one famous proverb says, the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.