Friday, 5 December 2014
I've been thinking about charity quite a lot lately, not sure how i will link everything into this post.....maybe i just wont!
Linda of Practical Parsimony is disabled and a pensioner, her main water supply pipe aged to the point where she lost her water supply and she has been without running water for well over a month now. Linda doesn't have an income that allows for her to easily cover a large unexpected expense but even with a go fund me campaign and appeals to local churches she has not so far been able to raise the money she needs to get the pipe fixed. We gladly donate to put wells in African villages but cant help an elderly american, why is that?
In an African village there is more likely to be social support but in our western cultures the social support is thinner on the ground and we also refuse to throw a few dollars at someone less fortunate. why are we so ungenerous?
In Australia (and I expect the US is similar) many people in Linda's circumstances would be living in public housing and not have to worry about infrastructure but Linda has managed to take care of her own housing so instead of helping out with the bit she cant manage we penalise her by expecting her to take care of everything. Why do we do that?
Sometimes people give me their hand-me-down clothes because they dont want to just put it in a charity bin. (and I am happy to accept it) but if they dont want the stuff, why do they have any attachment to what happens to it next? why do they think that i am more "worthy" of their cast offs than a stranger?
Today i saw someone on facebook commenting that they had done a clean up and donated some never worn childrens clothing to a charity shop but she thought the (volunteer) workers in the shop were going to take the clothing because it would have good resale value. Really? my experience is that australians are so over privileged that most of the time you cant give stuff away, even when it's good. if the clothes sat in her cupboards, never worn, why does she suddenly care about who gets them? and what has it actually cost her to give her a right to be so attached to the outcome?
i have been trying to watch a Ted talk a day and in this one, the speaker challenges the idea that charities should be aiming for low over heads, suggesting instead that maybe we could allow them the financial freedom to invest and therefore make more of a difference. He has me convinced but i doubt the charities are able to change their approach based solely on my opinion.