Jip, congratulations on reading my blog. However, you reading this have surely experienced some form of poverty or have been exposed to it. Poverty in South Africa is a terrible epidemic and this can only be curbed through job creation, education and a nation that is looking at this challenge in a responsible manner.
Ok, so let me cut the crap. We cannot give money to beggars on the street corner. That’s it!
Why am I saying this? Let me explain. Let’s say you drive along Jan Shoba road on your way home. You are most probably stuck in traffic and are almost confronted with the glare of a child standing at the intersection. Looking drab and in pain, he clings to his dirty carton board asking for any form of assistance. What do you feel?
Do you feel guilty? Do you feel compelled to help? Do you feel you need to get away from this situation asap because you just cannot deal with it? Whether you decide to help this child or not, might probably be the best way to you. Greater the question actually, is it good for him? You promptly take out that R5,00 coin that lies in your car and put it in his hand. Bravo, you have helped him. You feel good, he feels good and everything is as the world should be.
No not actually. He perceives it as assistance and support instead of going somewhere to seek assistance with numerous NGO’s in your city, that mostly offers their help for free! You are creating dependency. He’s going to be back there tomorrow, standing in the intersection, waiting for someone to give him R5,00. The aim must and should always be to move people who are socio-economically challenged from dependency to dignity (Vivienne Schultz, Dependency to dignity – The A2B for Community Development).
I truly believe that all people are compassionate, caring and believe and dream of a community where they too can feel valued, being able to support and give back. We should always just think about the impact of what we do. My suggestion? Do a bit of research in your own city on how many NGO’s are there and what services they offer our vulnerable communities. Why not strengthen THEIR hands to make a bigger impact with the same community you see on the intersections, or ring your bell asking for help.
Next time you want to get rid of the R5,00 coin, rather invest it with an NGO and refer our vulnerable community to one of the NGO’s in your city. Let’s be responsible givers of our own resources and make a lasting impact in peoples lives.
(PS. I am involved with PEN and they are good stewards, why not talk to them on how to give responsibly.) http://www.pen.org.za.