Is your aid hurting or helping?
For the last decade people all over the world have realized the need to help others in their own community and in other part of the world. But are they unconsciously hurting instead of helping? Did you know that on every dollar spent during the earthquake in Haiti, only one cent went to the government to help aid the people? Did you ?
Let’s consider the aid on a governmental and personal level.
On a governmental level many rich countries help poor country by providing financial and material resources, which is a really good thing, you might be saying. But let’s take a deeper look. When it come to financial resources, the countries helping come with their own experts on poverty. These experts earn a big chunk of money, stay at the best hotels, eat the best food and ironically try to figure out poverty’s solution from books. When it comes to in-kind donations, they are often finite resources. This is not sustainable. There are few NGO’s that help population becomes independent. If they do, it means the end of their existence as organization.
In my 23 years living in Haiti, I have rarely heard of organizations that want to build a big university or give people access to e-commerce to sell things in their countries. Almost never.
Individuals are usually most comfortable giving food, clothes or other finite resources.. I feel that a lot of people who give this kind of donation do it to feed their charity-persona. In other words, they feel obligated to do it and it makes them feel good about themselves but their objective in giving is not to help these people get unstuck from poverty cycle. It’s easier to get people to donate food items and clothes instead of contributing to entrepreneurship ideas of people in developing countries. Why? I think it’s difficult to grasp the idea of poor people turning into entrepreneurs and becoming independent. I hope I am wrong and that’s not a reason.
I have difficulty understanding the idea of two or three nice people going to a poor country to donate pencils, notebooks and candies to kids. I would better appreciate them as tourists. It feels like masturbation, you feel good for a while and then the feeling is gone. It’s like giving an ibuprofen to cure a patient who has cancer. I think poor countries are experiments for a lot of people. They go there to experience what is like to be poor, to see how blessed they are and do something to feel good about themselves. In summary, it’s all about them.
If we take into consideration the way the vast majority of aid is given, we can all agree that most of the aid hurts instead of helps. If you want to help, come and help, but please do it with the idea of getting people unstuck. Go help build a school, a good one. Create a library with good books. Teach people how to code, create software, do voice overs, speak your language and write. Help them start a business. We know you might want to teach them the bible, but for God’s grace this cannot be the main thing you want to do. Stop fooling them, because they only follow your ministry to get the food or the items you give afterwards. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you try the same strategy with economically stable people? I will anticipate that the results might be different. Don’t you think? Thus, if you are a doctor teach them the basic of hygiene after curing them for free.
This is not what you want to hear right now, but you might need this along the way if you crave to help and create lasting impact.
Will you? Will you help them get unstuck? Will you share with them the books that your son is reading? Will you teach them science? Or will you continue to feed the poverty industry?