Where Does Charity Really Begin?

children-in-Africa-famine

I’m currently trying to raise money for a charity. It’s tough out there.

Apparently most charities are experiencing a drop in donations. Add to that the seeming daily addition of a new clamouring voice for a shrinking charity dollar pool and it’s any wonder I sometimes feel like I’m pleading with a brick wall.

My charity of choice is a NGO that works in the area of extreme poverty (Oxfam). I know that every dollar I raise could mean the difference between life and death for someone. It does add some urgency and persistence to my efforts.

But I’m up against fundraisers for cancer research, family support, dogs for the blind and all manner of other causes.

helpwanted

“Charity begins at home” they like to say.

What I don’t understand is: why, in a country as wealthy and resource-rich as mine, do charities for causes such as those above even exist? Surely we should be able to fund research, feed and clothe our own children and provide services for the disabled from within government? With targeted spending and appropriate taxation, surely we can cover these costs ourselves and in the process free up people’s charity dollars for causes aimed at bringing those in our global community up to even a minimum standard of living?

In a country where one person can spend $20,000 on a handbag, WHY are there children going to bed hungry at all?

Hermès Birkin Handbag available on eBay for $22,000

Hermès Birkin Handbag available on eBay for $22,000

A few years ago, I travelled to Peru as part of a community project trip (you can read about it here). Two days after I got home, I had a call from a charity asking me to donate money so they could run a camp for the siblings of children with cancer. I’d just got back from a place where a child with cancer would be lucky to get treatment and here I was being asked to donate money to make someone feel better about their brother or sister having cancer. Needless to say, I declined. I’m not decrying the provision of such a service. I just think it indicates how lucky we are that our charity is at that level.

I could rant and rail against the injustice of it all (I guess I already am) but in the end, who am I to say my cause is more worthy than anyone else’s? People have their priorities and their passions and they are as equally valid as mine.

But I can’t help thinking it would be a much easier world to live in if we could all at least start off with clean water, food and a roof over our heads. So I’ll continue to shout at the top of my voice in the din of charity fundraising and hope my voice will be heard.

To Donate: https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/team/home/15946

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