Donate Vs Empower!
It was the book ‘The Blue Sweater’ that got me thinking in this direction. The author Jacqueline Novogratz narrates her own story of finding newer ways to tackle global poverty. She convinces you that traditional charity is designed for failure. The newer philanthropic investment, is a for-profit initiative that works towards making the poor self-sufficient. Seemingly trivial things like mosquito nets have transformed the lives of communities.
We all donate some amount or time towards charity, don’t we? How many of us put in the extra time and effort to think, if the money given is actually helping them or pulling them down one level further. No, don’t get me wrong I am not saying no to donations, just take it a step further. Try to empower the person with your donation. Sounds crazy does it? Well the Chinese proverb advocated this centuries ago,
Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.
The thought of empowering domestic help took shape after reading the book. I personally feel most of the people who take up domestic work, continue doing so for their whole life. We do hear exceptional stories of people who cleared exams with exceptional results. But those are as few as to be counted on our fingertips. What about the rest? Do you feel a person would be motivated forever to do the mundane cleaning, mopping and sweeping? Even gardeners, drivers and other domestic help are bound to slack, unless there is a hope to a better future. For some the hope lies in their kids education and to give them better lives. But after facing the hand-to-mouth existence for a long while, most of them fall into the mediocrity trap. This is where you and I can definitely make a difference. I chanced upon this blog giving some tips on what we could do here. Another thought could be to sponsor their kids education/books in part or full.
What will you do the next time you see a child asking for money to buy books for school. The easier option would have been to give him money, to donate. Instead you can ask him what books are needed and buy those for the child. You will thus ensure that the money is not put to wrong use. And most importantly enable the child to attend school. An educated member of the family can go a long way in becoming a bread-winner and at times the only bread-winner of the family. This is exactly what a family member did recently. (I am proud of you :) and am not mentioning your name here only because you may not like it)
How have you empowered someone with your donation? If not yet, please do. Together we can help reduce poverty, by enabling the needy and not just giving them financial/material aid.