Charity Begins at Home

dfid_logo_largeFor all the bad press and the flak that the British people get across the international spectrum, it was satisfying to see recently that the UK is the only one of the G8 Nations, and only one of 6 countries world wide that met their commitment to spend 0.7% of the Annual GDP on International Foreign Aid.

This afternoon as I was sitting watching TV, I was subjected to a barrage of Adverts appealing for charitable donations for everything from clean water charities, to ones that protect working donkeys around the globe. However, one of them stood out to me and got me thinking. It was a call for people to donate to pay for support to be provided to the refugees of the Syrian civil unrest.

Now I feel sorry for the innocent people caught up in the horror of war. It is never a pleasant reality to have to accept when we learn of the suffering, hardship and risk to hard working, normal citizens of any nation on earth. These are the facts of war, people are displaced, put in harms way, used as human shields. It is hard to deal with the images that are flashed across the screen, being used specifically to emote and provoke a response within you.

Having worked in the third sector, I know all too well how it is the powerful effect of seeing children suffering, or animals that are suffering in silence that bring the money rolling in through the door. What you don’t see luxury trimmings that senior management enjoy every day behind the scenes. The fat pay cheques, the nice cars, the expensive dinners, the plush offices, the flights, the hotels suites, oh the list goes on and on. But we all know and chose to forget that this is all a part of running an effective multi billion dollar charity. Hell the budget that these charities use on television advertising could probably educate a small army of third world children each year.

It was not this that got me itchy though. The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder, how it is that only six nations have met this commitment to foreign aid. Who are the biggest donors, who make sure they meet their promises, and what did the league of international aid donors look like?

Before we actually look at the top ten donors in the world, let’s just check who the top ten richest countries in the world are by GDP for 2013, courtesy of Forbes Magazine In order from the richest, the top ten are; Qatar, Luxembourg, Singapore, Norway, Hong Kong SAR, Brunei, USA, UAE, Switzerland, Kuwait.

So then I took a look at the list of the top ten International Donations in the form of Aid. These are nations that have been donating a huge chunk of their wealth as successful hard working and profitable countries to those less fortunate. So who are the top ten this time? Well according to the United Nations this time, they are; Sweeden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, France.

Amazing. Not one of the Arab nations, places rolling in the wealth of oil profits, places that are so wealthy they can afford to build fancy palm shaped islands and state of the art cities, no expense spared. These are nations that don’t blink an eye at squandering billions of dollars building a ski dome in a desert, or buildings that defy the laws of nature.

Yet, despite all that wealth, NOT ONE of them are listed in the top ten countries that donate to the well being of others. Truth be told, the UN website provides information on the top 25 nations, and not a single one of them are from within the Middle East. Yet, here I am on a Wednesday evening, sat watching an advert on British Television appealing for UK Citizens to donate £2 a month to funding aid work in Syria.

The Western world have poured billions of dollars into international aid efforts in support of Arab nations all across the world. From Palestine to Pakistan, Syria to Libya, Turkey to Mongolia. These are the very nations that call for Western blood and despise our way of life, yet when the chips are down they are perfectly willing to allow the aid agencies to come running with their good will and generosity, no thanks needed.

It is pathetic. How a nationality of people, a whole section of our creed of mankind could be so small minded that when it comes to being able to reach out and alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate than themselves, that the Arab people collectively seem incapable of putting their money where it matters.

I accept that this is not the rule that applies to every person within the Arab community, and there are sections of the UK Arab fraternity that are as active in funding aid efforts to the Middle East as some Western Agencies. However I am disappointed that collectively as a people, with nations as rich and powerful as they are, they are not leading the way by example.

If the UK were to stop it’s international aid commitments this year, we would be out of debt in record time. We would have huge swathes of money available in our coffers to build new roads, create jobs, build infrastructure to support a real first world nation. Thing is, as a people, we actually do care about what happens in the world around us. Despite the fact that most people think that the Brits are a little pompous, maybe a bit full of themselves, probably aloof, the thing is they really do have a reason to be.

It does bug me, and seem rude, yes I accept that. But when you have a nation that actually steps up to the mark, takes its responsibilities seriously and gives a shit about others before themselves, then I am sorry, but next time you want to go burn a flag or spread some hate, look at home. You might find you get more achieved when you start to sort things out in your own back yard.

Charity really does begin at home. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The first world needs to wake up and realise that we need to get it right at home, here in our nations, where our people are suffering and struggling; before we go running off to fix the rest of the world. Nature is cruel, it is harsh and it is unpredictable. You can’t save them all. I cannot help but wonder if the Euro Zone and Northern American Alliance were to turn off the tap of International Aid tomorrow, how long it’d be before the world went into total melt down. Sad but true, half this world rely on the backhanders and funds that pour out of the coffers of a very few nations that help to prop up and sustain a world in need, while the rich and greedy, just get fatter and greedier.

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Do They Know It’s Christmas – “Of Course We Do!”

I was reading today and came across a tweet that pointed me to this post on the Hayibo.com website, and it made me chuckle a bit, but the overall emphasis on the idea behind the content of the post, is something close to my heart. It’s good to hear it from the mouth of another African person too, and I really hope that the single does well.

Reposted from Hayibo.com

CAPE TOWN. After 28 years of silently tolerating it, a group of unemployed local musicians have joined forces to release a Christmas single, entitled ‘Yes we do,’ in response to the Bob Geldof inspired Band Aid song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.

Speaking at the launch of their song, the musicians praised Geldof’s relentless quest for an answer and said they hoped their collaboration would free the Irishman and his friends to start looking for solutions to new and more important questions.
“Like Do they know about climate change in America? Or did Kim Jong-il have time to write down the abort codes for the nukes before he died? Or perhaps he can revert to the time-honoured classic – ‘Tell me why I don’t like Mondays.”

Speaking at the launch of the single, whose proceeds will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools, composer and singer Boomtown Gundane said that for years he had been irked by Geldof’s assumption that hungry Africans were also stupid.

“Or was he just saying that Africans were stupid? Of course we knew it was Christmas.”

He said despite the poverty and hunger that had inspired Geldof and his friends to create the song back in 1984 that Africans had developed their own ways to remember Christmas.

“Just because we don’t have Boney M or Christmas advertising in September doesn’t mean we are oblivious to it,” said Gundane who went on to suggest that Africans were a lot like the Irish.

“They made it through disasters like the potato blight and the invention of the Protestant church without forgetting Christmas – why did they think we would forget it?”

When asked why the ensemble of African musicians, who have called themselves Plaster Cast, had taken so long to come up with a response to the Band Aid song Gundane said it had taken a while for them to realise that it wasn’t actually an elaborate joke.
“We kept waiting for them to laugh,” he said, “But the punch-line never arrived.”

Gundane said he hoped that his involvement with the song would turn him into an expert on British politics and economics in the same way ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ had turned Geldof and Bono into the world’s leading experts on Africa.

“If I’m not sharing a platform with the Queen and David Cameron by this time next year; or headlining at Glastonbury, then I will have done something very wrong,” said Gundane.

My very best wishes to Gundane and the musicians. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, and a very happy 2012.

Looking for the New Winning Formula for Fundraising.

I was thinking to myself today as I considered the Queen’s coming Diamond Jubilee here in the UK, that out of the pomp and ceremony that we all see and experience, it is little known that as a result of the jubilee lots of small charitable organisations get to enjoy a pot of money that is set aside as a form of celebrating through giving.

It got me to thinking about the whole concept of giving. It is a conundrum that has been at the centre of much speculation by economists in recent years. What really drives us to give? Is it all about altruism and our desire to help others, or does it come out of our generosity and desire to feel good about ourselves? Or is there a social element to giving as Tim Harford would suggest on his blog looking at the impact of the recession on giving? He suggests that we give out of peer pressure, giving because we think that it’s what others expect of us.

While giving is at the very heart of charitable existence, you have to ask yourself the question “What is in it for me?” If we didn’t ask these questions, we wouldn’t be human. If you are giving for a feeling of satisfaction, then it is more probable that you will give again at some point in the future. If you are giving because you feel you are expected to, you may well be more begrudging to give again.

Sally Strove makes an interesting point on her blog when she says that all too often we lose sight of the delicate moral balance between giving and receiving. She uses the example of a business faced with the choice of tax benefits through its charitable contributions, and asks the question are we giving for all the wrong reasons? Has “What do I get out of it?”, become all too important to us as a precursor to our giving?

In her blog Sally pointed me in the direction of the Maimonides Ladder of Charity, a doctrine of giving penned by a 12th century Jewish scholar. This ladder sets out eight rungs of the ladder of giving, starting at the lowest rung and working its way up to the purest form of giving. The eight rungs are listed below.

  1. The Lowest – Giving begrudgingly and making the recipient feel disgraced or embarrassed.
  2. Giving cheerfully but giving too little.
  3. Giving cheerfully and adequately but only after being asked.
  4. Giving before being asked.
  5. Giving when you do not know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient knows your identity.
  6. Giving when you know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient does not know your identity.
  7. Giving when neither the donor nor the recipient is aware of the other’s identity.
  8.  The Highest – Giving money, a loan, your time or whatever else it takes to enable an individual to be self-reliant.

Imagine a world where we all consciously reached at a minimum of rung four on the ladder, and strove to achieve rung eight more consistently. How much more would the charitable community be able to achieve if we prompted ourselves to give more frequently without being asked to give.

Many charities survive through a sustained giving program supported by people who agree to pay a certain amount each month in support of the objectives of the charity. But is this model sustainable moving into the 21st Century as we face more challenging times? Can we really rely on this system of constantly presenting our begging bowl, prompting people to donate?

The challenge I guess therefore lies in getting the donor community to think about giving more constructively. What does this mean for the charitable sector, and how do we work towards ensuring that we have a sustainable source of financial income through empowering the community that support us into thinking more about what we achieve together as a community through their charitable giving. Ultimately we should be considering what the overall impact of our efforts is achieving not only as a giver, but as an organisation.

When times are good and donations are high, it is easy to fall into the trap of simply getting the job done. Yet time and time again, we find ourselves coming back to the problem at hand. Take for example the efforts of Live Aid. In the 1980’s the world came to the aid of the Horn of Africa with the best of intentions. Yet in 2011 we are once again back to a situation of televised appeals to finance another food aid program to the Horn of Africa?

In Oman, a region considered to be Water Scarce the government has invested US$52 million into a project designed to tap ground reservoirs fed by a desalination facility in Barka to provide water to millions of residents in the Dakhliyah region. Through the creation of jobs and the long term supply of water Oman has undertaken to secure the future of a region of its nation desperately needing water to develop. Is this not the same situation that befalls the Horn of Africa? You have to wonder how after raising over £150 million pounds through the Live Aid program in 1985, a proportion of the money was not set aside to secure the water future of the African nations in the Horn of Africa. It was too easy to meet the need of the people at the time without seeking to reach the eighth rung of Maimonides’ ladder and empower the African people with the tool, skills and equipment to do it for themselves.

So this is the challenge. How do we as the 3rd Sector community seeking to serve the people our organisation helps, actively encourage more proactive giving. Personally I believe that it is key to our future to develop a personal relationship with our donors and work towards involving them in the work that we undertake as an organisation. The benefits from this approach are multiple, and bring us back to that original focus about feeling good about what we give.

I agree totally with Sally when she says that the “Pay it Forward” concept of giving is a powerful tool in the quiver of the third sector. Working within the private sector to establish a corporate giving culture within the work place is a logical and effective way of securing a financial income. Gaining accreditation from a corporate body can often open the door to hundreds of employees who get the opportunity to collectively give as part of a program of giving designed to stimulate and encourage team spirit within the organisation, any donations being put forward by the staff being met pound for pound by the firm itself. This becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved. The charity gets a steady stream of income, the staff feel good about their contribution, and build a spirit of unity within their workplace, and the organisation get tax relief from their “Pay it Forward” contributions to the charity.

Another profound idea is to involve those people who donate to your cause more creatively. Everyone loves to have something to do for their community, society or to help something that they feel passionately about. People want to feel accepted and part of their community. Dale Carnegie hit the nail on the head in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ We love to feel important, and understanding that in giving people are looking to feel good about themselves, expanding on that concept by inviting a donor to become more involved with your organisation will open the door to a whole new world of opportunity for your organisation.

Not everybody will agree to this, and careful management of the program is well worth preparing before launching your campaign, but it is the ability to think outside the box and will excite and encourage people to buy into your vision and support your cause more enthusiastically.

I encourage you to read the blogs linked within this post and take time to reflect for a moment about the importance of understanding giving completely before committing yourself or your organisation to a designated fundraising strategy. Bear in mind that in these difficult times, money is something that no one really wants to part with, but while we are all counting the pennies, feeling good about ourselves, and a desire to want to help others is an essential part of our humanity. Managing this desire effectively is important to us as a society, but more significantly to our survival as a 3rd Sector community.

Additional recommended reading: f you question motivations for giving, whether those motivations belong to you or someone else, you are not alone. For a look into the process that led Hubber RTalloni to a personal philosophy of and commitment to giving, read The Definition of Charitable Work.

Children of Uganda – African Success Story

I love taking time to write about African success stories. The things that are happening in the continent of my birth, the things that remind me that you can achieve anything you like, even in the face of great adversity.

Today I am going to write about an organisation based in Uganda. Uganda is a relatively small country in the heart of central Africa, one that caught the headlines for the notorious actions of its leader Idi Amin Dada in the 1970’s. Having spent much of the 70’s and 80’s caught in the grip of civil war, Uganda was highlighted in the media for its scant regard for Human Rights. During this time it is believed that upwards of half a million people were killed in state sponsored violence.

In 1986 president Yoweri Museveni took control of the embattled nation and turned the fortunes of the country around, introducing economic and democratic reforms, and taking control of the army and police, his government are credited for substantially improving the prospects of life in Uganda.

However as is the case with African nations, the stability has not won complete peace, and rebel movements still cause significant unrest in the rural north of the country. The cult like Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been described by some as one of the most effective guerrilla armies in Africa and is attributed to the displacement of over 1.5 million people in Uganda and the neighbouring countries.

This constant state of flux between war and peace has meant that the relative stability for Uganda has not always meant that its people can enjoy the benefits of economic growth and prosperity. In 2000 Uganda was recognised by the Paris Club as one of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and was granted debt relief. In 2008 Uganda recorded a 7% growth figure despite the financial insecurities facing the global markets.

Despite this progress, we are well aware that economic growth does not equate to poverty elimination. According to the World Bank 31% of the 32 million people that live in Uganda live in poverty. However consideration should be given to the fact that since 1992 when the figure was at 56% of the population showing a concerted effort by the government to reach the Millennium Development Goal of eradicate extreme poverty.

In the centre of this success is the fact that Uganda is regarded as something of a prodigy in terms of its response to AIDS in any African country. Since the 1980’s when more than 30% of the population were infected with HIV, Unicef put the current HIV prevalence rate (age 15-19) at 6.5% of the population. The nation still deals with a significantly high number of people living with HIV, but through its openness and a concerted effort at addressing the causes of AIDS among its people, the control of its spread is remarkable success that health authorities in Uganda can be proud of.

The AIDS epidemic may be under management in Uganda, but it has created a new epidemic for Uganda. Uganda has the largest orphan population per capita of any country of the world as a result of the number of deaths from AIDS. In Uganda today, more than 200 people a day die as a result of AIDS, devastating the 25-40 year old segment of the population, leaving behind more than 2.4 million orphans in the country. 63% of this number are living without any natural parents living, and this is where organisations like Children of Uganda step in.

Established from a desire to see the children of Uganda receive an education and become healthy, productive members of the community, Children of Uganda was born in 1995, and since then has achieve remarkable things while working among vulnerable and precious members of Ugandan society.

Twenty two key staff have immunised more than 13.5 million children. Twice yearly the team reach out to more than 4 million children to accelerate Vitamin A Supplementation and catch up immunisations and de-worming programs. 3.7 million girls have benefited from the Girls Education Movement launched in 18 districts across Uganda. Over half a million mothers have been assisted at 91 different sites for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmissions of AIDS. Over 9000 excluded or disadvantaged children have been reached though 250 non-formal/complementary learning centres. A volunteer program with over 2,300 community health workers reach over 300,000 children in conflict areas with first line treatment.

The list of achievements just goes on and on. From the provision of fresh running water through pump schemes in areas of displacement, to Early Childhood Development sites. From the provision of therapeutic milk and high energy biscuits to severely malnourished children to providing shelter for over 30,000 child night commuters. No matter where it is the Children of Uganda team have made massive strides to touch the lives of children with literally nowhere left to turn.

This remarkable organisation has changed the life of many African children in Uganda. I encourage you to visit their website and see for yourself the impact that they have in reading some of the success stories on the site. One that touches my heart is that of a young boy called Ronald. At 17, he has watched both his mother and father die as a result of AIDS, and now struggles with HIV himself. Having to face the reality that like his mother and father he would himself die, Ronald was taken in at Kiwanga Home in 2002, a Children of Uganda orphanage.

He has a heart warming story of a life transformed. Coming through the tragedy of being alone in the world, the bullying that children with HIV suffer at the hands of other children and the lack of education, Ronald met with his sponsor in 2003, who is himself HIV positive who has survived through the use of ARVS drugs which Ronald now has access to through the kindness of this sponsor.

Through a support network, and a sponsorship program Ronald now has a shot at life. In his story he tell us about the challenges he faces in life, how has come through remarkable difficulties, overcome unreal loss, and still is wonderful young man. A true son of Africa, he shows all of us that when a community are given a chance, a little help and support, and the tools, it can transform itself into a vibrant society.

Uganda is a success story in Africa. It’s not perfect, and faces some tough challenges and much the same difficulties as so many other African nations, but I believe that we can accept that no place on earth is perfect. Crime, corruption, war, famine and strife are part of our way of life, even in the 1st World. It is just warming to see that despite all the odds, there are African countries that are making progress and changing the lives of their people.

Give your Community a Social Smile

Our world has become a place where far too much emphasis is placed on being self sufficient. We put too much time into striving to survive. Selfishness is the order of the day, and sad as it is to admit, we have become a society caught up in our own importance at the detriment to our communities and society at large.

A lot of hard work and time is given by members of our society to make charity a working part of our lives, collecting on behalf of hugely valuable organisations or community groups that have a significant impact throughout the world, but this kind of giving is made far too easy for us as individuals. Yes we dig into our pocket and give, but it is left to others to make the difference, and while we can draw satisfaction from feeling involved, we sadly lack the reward of experiencing the change our donation makes at the end of the line.

Don’t get me wrong, I do honestly believe that charitable giving has an important place in our modern world, however what I am trying to suggest is that we as a society should challenge ourselves more.

There is more to be done than simply digging into our pocket and producing small change, or setting up a direct debit or standing order for a monthly contribution to some foundation or charitable organisation.

Let me ask you to think back to when you did something special for a perfect stranger in your community? When was the last time that you made an effort to make someone you didn’t know feel good about themselves or make their day extra special?

I am certain that for the majority of us we can all attest to being guilty of failing this test. I know that far too often I am caught up in a world of personal complexities, the demanding world of surviving in difficult financial times and far too busy to stop and wonder how I could make someone’s day a great day. Does this make me selfish? No I don’t believe that just one action alone makes me fundamentally flawed by selfishness, however I do think that it points to the fact that I could do more.

More importantly I believe that it points to the fact that we could all do more. If you are reading this and thinking, well yes, if I am totally honest with myself, I know that I could also do more, then allow me to challenge you this Christmas to commit yourself to making it an extra special Christmas for one person that you know will benefit from just a little bit of love.

It is not a big thing to show someone else some appreciation this year. It’s a special time of the year anyway, and it’s called the season of giving for a reason, so let’s make an effort to share with someone different this year, and spread the feeling of goodwill beyond our comfort zone.

Communities are made stronger by the simple actions of people within them. We become better people by reaching out and helping people not as fortunate as ourselves. Let’s be honest, we all know of someone that would benefit from our help. Even if you don’t it is not massively difficult to find someone within our communities that would benefit from a little bit of extra love and consideration. I guess the most important consideration in this appeal is that personal feeling of satisfaction. Your personal sacrifice in time, expense and effort produces the most rewarding feeling when you see the look of amazement and happiness on the face or in the eyes of the individual you touch with your love. Nothing can replace that warm glow of unity that you feel in your soul.

So take a moment of reflection if you have read this, and promise yourself to touch another this year. Let us all learn through our commitment to put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas that communities grow into better places through our actions, and people become better people when we share and reach out to each other. Giving is so much more than just your small change, and when a whole society begin to make small contributions to our community, it is then that we see the Big Society take hold, snow ball and become a thriving, healthy, social network of people making the difference for each other.

Even Natural Disasters have a Class System in Modern Society.

We are so eager to prove to each other and show in government and society as a whole that Class systems are a thing of the past in our modern age? Yet I was moved today while listening to a BBC presenter reading out emails from people who know of or have loved ones stuck in some horrendous conditions in the earth quake hit city of Christchurch on the south Island of New Zealand. While I was sitting listening to the difficulties and hardships that so many people are still living through several weeks after the quake devastated the city, I had to ask myself where is the international arm of assistance? Where are the Disaster Emergency Committee’s appeals? Where are the international rescue teams, and more over why are we quite happy to sit back and do nothing about it?

It troubles me that in today’s day and age, in the middle of humanitarian crisis around our world there is a clear cut gauge used in response to a natural disaster. I would like an explanation as to how the nations and governments of the world decide who is deserved of international crisis aid and who is not. I have not once heard the British Prime Minister stand up before parliament or our nation and declare and emergency response to the devastation caused by the 22nd February 2011 earthquake.

Does this mean that the residents of Christchurch are any less deserving of our support and aid as an international community? Does it mean that we consider the population of New Zealand to be of a class non deserving of our help at a time of great need? Who is it that makes these decisions, and how is it that if such a disaster were to happen in a third world nation, our outcry would be instant and immediate? Yet when such a disaster hits a first world nation we all sit back and say well just let them get on with it on their own.

I’ve sat and watched the television as millions of pounds are spent around the world helping those who have gone through devastation of one nature or another, and while I do not begrudge the aid that these people receive, for it is clearly needed, but I do however have issue with the way that we choose which crisis we will endeavour to support and which we will ignore.

It irritates me that when a White run government is in power in a fairly stable and economically productive country in the world it is automatically deemed that in the event of a natural disaster that the country is capable and has means and the ability to deal with the unfolding scale of the human tragedy by itself. A perfect example of this was the crisis that befell the citizens of New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina obliterated their city. In the wake of one of the most devastating hurricanes of the last 25 years, the world sat back and watched as hundreds of thousands of people were left to fend for themselves. I remember being struck by anger at that time at how lethargic the world were to pull their hands out their pockets and send assistance to a community caught up in the horrors of surviving a natural disaster.

America is one of the most giving nations on our planet, and if it were not for the USA, which so many of us choose to hate, we would see millions of people in worse of conditions than they find themselves today. They are not perfect, but they sure know what the word charity means, and I am sick and tired of watching nation after nation holding out its begging plate to a nation that its very own people have no respect for, and would choose gladly to go to war with expecting to receive US Aid, food, medical supplies and infrastructural support. Yet when the Americans needed us, where were we?

And now once again I see the exact same thing befalling the citizens of Christchurch, New Zealand. Not one of our reporters has visited the city to tell the story of the devastation and hardships that its people have experienced. ITV TV, one of what I consider to be the better British news channels clearly has its priorities all wrong, as when the Haitian earthquake hit in 2010, reporter were camped on the streets to tell of the hardships of the local people. We saw film footage of the power of nature and the effects it has on people as rescuers fought to save victims caught in the rubble. We visited camps and were shown the difficulties of feeding the people, the sanitation problems and the woes of those who had little access to the simplest of things like water.

Yet are these not the same difficulties facing the victims of the Christchurch earth quake? I listened to narration of people letting two, three and four families stay in houses built to house one. I heard talk of the lack of power, sanitation and running water through much of the city three weeks on from the disaster. I heard tails of the difficulties of getting supplies and survival, while families wait to find out if their homes are safe to return to or need to be demolished. This is very much in my opinion news worthy material, that our news teams just have no interest in covering, as it is more sensational to show us film footage from five days ago that they shot in Libya as they choose to cover a civil war in a war torn part of Africa.

I guess there is nothing wrong with telling us about the efforts of the rebels to overthrow an evil dictatorship, I just feel that there is an issue here, as judgement clouds the eyes, brains and human affiliations to people who are just as credible and deserved of our attention and support. I strongly believe that if the New Zealand government had been a native Maori government would we be more active in putting foreign aid their way, and doing more to cover the issues affecting the people of a native New Zealand. In today’s day and age to be able to even think such things is incredible, as our world is affected by a great many manmade crisis’s, but when it comes to nature, it does not choose colour, creed, nationality, rich or poor. It randomly strikes out and takes loved ones from every race and family. Choosing to leave others to struggle on in the wake of the weight of survival and the guilt of being left behind, but also to deal with the clean up and process of getting on in life.

In this modern world, in this day and age, class systems should not exist when it comes to human suffering. It is wrong for nations, governments, organisations, you and me to turn a blind eye when disaster hits a part of the world we consider to be richer than other places. Every disaster is a tragedy and deserves our attention, support, charity and assistance. Lets strive to be better people and learn that alone we are pathetic, weak and at the mercies of mother nature. Yet together we can learn to make life better, to help and support one another through pain, hurt and loss. Together we can make tomorrow a better place where the woes of today are carried on equal yokes, shared and carried together. Helping your brother does not mean helping those you only choose deserve your help. It means helping even those that maybe you dislike, hate or feel are less deserving of your time and effort.

I don’t care what religion you are from, even if you’re a pagan, you know it is right to help those in times of need. Your god, allah, spiritual force or whatever it is that you believe does not teach us to be selfish and full of hate. It does not teach us that we are better than one another. True humility is to respect your own humanity and realise that you are just as vulnerable and needy as anyone else around you. This class driven society in which we live is foolish and sets us up to look like hypocrites. I personally don’t wish to be known as that kind of person. My time and effort is there to help anyone I am able and to call to each and every one of you that read this to strive to do the same. Don’t bring shame on yourself by your actions, rather be meek and strive to be all you can to everyone you can.