There is a lot to be said for charitable work but in order to be effective, it cannot be about intentions, feelings, emotions or any other intangible concept. For charitable work to be effective and meaningful, it must provide long-term, viable solutions to problems that currently exist and allow for the creation of environments that necessitate charitable giving.
Unfortunately, we have seen and are living through the very real environment allowed to foment from the creation of a dependency class that rather than solving any issues, has created an entire class of people who not only rely on government (read taxpayer) subsidies, but whom are now reluctant at best to do anything to actually improve their lot in life.
Everybody needs a hand up from time to time and some people seem to have the worst of fortune and find themselves in exceedingly difficult circumstances on a somewhat regular basis but the key to successful charity is sustainability … of both the charitable programs and the results.
The term I use for many “charitable acts” that are far more detrimental than beneficial is “Giveaway Programs” as they tend to give away a good deal while at the same time making absolutely no demands of the person who is receiving assistance.
Most of us know that things we perceive to be of little value are generally not held in high regard while much lesser items that we may actually strive for are held in extremely high regards … and not only more greatly appreciated but more beneficial as well.
To demonstrate what I mean, I will use an analogy despite the fact that I am trying to get away from that habit.
I have a friend who suffers from adverse reactions when his blood sugar gets too low. We often joked about this as we are both equally cantankerous under the best of circumstances and when someone asks him if he is being an a … being difficult because of low blood sugar, we both have to laugh.
We were at an all-you-can-eat buffet and were on something like our tenth or twelfth plate of King Crab Legs … quite a luxury item under normal circumstances. However, at the time they seemed so “common” that they held little value and he had no qualms throwing away large portions of residual meat within the shell … much easier to simply go back to that portion of the line and refill an entire plate.
Yet one night when we were working late, his blood sugar levels did actually become dangerously low and the vending machine was … very lightly stocked and had precious little to begin with.
This same man who had freely tossed away food costing more than many people in the world make in a week was not praising a small portion of junk food that, despite not being nearly as nice may have well prevented a seizure and maybe even saved his life.
When we give away charity without making any expectations from the person receiving that charity, we often do more damage than good simply because they now place very little value on what has been given to them and will often freely fritter it away without so much as a thought about the potential ramifications.
For the sake of full disclosure, I should note here that a great many of the smaller projects that we have in the Philippines are “giveaway” projects but there is a major difference in a great many ways between providing safe and secure housing or a means to earn a living at no cost to someone and giving them a monthly stipend to survive without any expectations of a return.
In order for a person or people to become dependent on something, it generally has to be administered more than once. All of the “giveaway” programs that we support are designed to help the under-privileged and the working poor who, while they may not be homeless, certainly do not have the ability to enjoy safe and secure housing or the means to greatly improve their position in life.
All of the local “giveaway” projects that we support are one-time projects designed to improve at least one aspect of a working-class poor or under-privileged family and their lot in life.
In the case of homes and amenities, we are not building numerous units for any single individual and certainly not building mansions or egregiously excessive amenities. With your help, we build basic homes, basic piggeries, basic chicken coops and work to provide safe and secure housing and a means for providing food and income for the family as a whole.
In this way, when the opportunity does arise to begin sending their children to school to get an actual education, we are not taking away from the ability of the family to support themselves and in the long-run, can actually accomplish a lot more good.
Handing out monthly stipends on the other hand, especially when it is done in where absolutely no effort is required on the part of the recipients is always going to be more detrimental than beneficial.
Let us know what you think please!