I read an article in today’s Washington Post, on line edition and feel it is worth sharing with my blog readers.
This about an immigrant from dirt poor Burkina Faso, in Africa, who now works in Washington DC as a concierge in a building, who supports his extended family back home from his earnings. The tenants of the building once they got to know about what he does, chipped in to help him provide more for the village back home, including building a well etc. for a village does not even have electricity. It is worth a read.
When I lived in the USA, I frequently came in contact with the generosity, and caring of the average American to people in distress. In a time when the US is maligned by Sri Lanka, one must remind Sri Lankans of the good heart of the average American, whatever policy is adopted by the Government. The people are decent, humble and have a streak of empathy and sympathy for those who make an effort to help themselves.
In a period in Sri Lanka where people are trying to make a fast buck, by foul means, I am sad to see that hard work and genuine effort is not rewarded, and instead greed and avarice, and wishing to ape people who have obtained their riches by foul means is admired.
We MUST impress on people that some of the values we have are wrong. We must give credit to people who sincerely try to make a difference, and not do it just for show. Many charity fund raisers here are for duty and part of the Clubs people belong to such as, Lions, Rotary, Zonta and an endless list where the primary purpose is to network, give members a chance to fine tune their leadership and organizational skills, where raising funds for a project is secondary, as a means to lend some social responsibility value to it.
I am no doubt going to get some irate members of these organizations refuting my allegations and that is fine, it just makes the debate interesting, and thought provoking, the main aim of the blog. After all we must help those who help themselves before we help those who hold their hand out just because its free. The latter sadly are those who gain most from the Sri Lankan model of charity.
Talking about charity, it is very difficult to guarantee results, but if one directs it through someone trustworthy who is selfless in their work, there is a greater likelihood of both deserving people receiving assistance and gain the maximum productivity out of the charity rupee.
Let us not kid ourselves. The Government of Sri Lanka is the largest distributor of charity to people, a huge proportion of which no one disputes is embezzled and wasted both by those in charge of distribution, and the undeserving recipients, who do not use what is given for the intended purpose. An important lesson in how we help, volunteer and donate.