1000 People = 1000 Wonders
Helping someone is a virtue. I think most people would agree with that statement. However, how many of you know people who will help others only in the way they think the other needs help? This is a good example of how good intentions can mean sweet FA. And sometimes, it’s not even good intentions, it’s just plain old stinky ego.
I am in the business of helping those less fortunate — as many of you might already know, I’m in the not-for-profit sector balancing between being an activist, a lobbyist and a humanitarian because I have to be if I sincerely want to help solve the problems. This means I have days when I’m just taking humanitarian aid to someone in serious need, and it would be rude not to sit down and chat with them. So I make time for a conversation. I usually just let them talk.
I remember one guy telling me how he applied to an organisation to get a cow. He already had three goats, but a cow would have made a huge difference to his family. I must have had a bleak look on my face because he went on to explain how they could have milk, and make cheese, and butter, and the cow might have offspring, and they could have meat, perhaps even make some money off it. It’s not that I didn’t know this, but, let’s be honest, how many of us ‘urban kids’ really think about this sort of stuff.
Led by the idea if you give a man a fish, you’ve fed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you’ve saved him for life, yet no one can study on an empty stomach I thought this guy was just amazing. He was looking for the ‘teach me to fish’ kind of help so that we don’t have to keep checking if his stomach is empty.
However, he was rejected for the funds, so he contacted us. Back then, we had a bunch of donors who gave a small amount and didn’t care how we used it — unrestricted donation, as they’re called. The amount wasn’t enough for a cow, so we had to reach out. This was the first time I started noticing people who decide how to help before they decide to help. It might sound irrational, but it can happen.
This led me to wonder about just one person to another kind of help; no organisation involved. It happens all the time, far more than I would have imagined. A student gets a TV, yet they don’t know how they’ll pay the rent. You might…