The Third Kind of Charity
Every year hundreds of thousands of Shillings is given away in charity. This can be in various forms, for example right at home with the housemaids, to a specific organization. Let’s first understand what is charity?
According to the Miriam dictionary, charity means the following:
: the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc.;
: something (such as money or food) that is given to people who are poor, sick, etc.
: an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.
: the organizations that help people in need
The common form is to give money, so that it can be used for so many priorities, for example hospital bills, school fees and so on.
You are faced with such requests almost on a daily basis and the usual one is sitting in traffic in the highway and when a beggar comes, you have the power to make the choice to give or not.
Then, does giving a charitable organization make a bigger difference than a beggar?
In the first place, to do charity you need to be a specific type of person(s). Either you were raised in a family where “sharing is caring” and you are accustomed to giving your old clothes away or pocket money and then a percentage of your salary. Thus, you are in a giving environment and you don’t make a big deal about the “charity” you do and keep it a quiet affair. It is as if your family is sharing/passing on a family tradition.
Otherwise you are doing it to earn society points, family fame and professional gain. Here you give big bucks so you get to sign big cheques, photo opportunities and hardly ever bother where the money is going and whether it really makes a difference. While some might argue, that they do it genuinely, it is obvious that majority use it as a Corporate Social Responsibility exercise, to gain points with their investors, employers and general public. These things have an expiry date and eventually hardly make any difference to a real person’s life.
Or perhaps you are running an NGO or charitable organization and once again want to make a meaningful difference to the planet or people. Here, most cases are genuine, because they have probably experienced the abuse, hunger or rejection and have decided to forgive the world and actually make a difference. Yes, they receive funds from the “Corporates” but there is a deeper connection because the corporates may be mutual friends, likeminded individuals and have their heart in the cause.
In whichever way you look at it, the choice of charity is completely individualistic. You may have grown up in a giving home, but you may not be eager to part with your money, you may not believe in it or maybe you do more than whatever your family has done so far. As a corporate you can ignore this completely or you build a road that in your retirement days takes you to a philanthropic life.
But where is the beggar in all this. There is some factual evidence that beggars are their own victims of crime and a money racket, so giving them any kind of charity especially money is feeding their system and not the beggar in any way regardless of age, caste or ability. There is perhaps only 0.1% of people who actually see a beggar, take him or her to a hospital to get well, take him or her to a school to get an education or take him or her to their office/workplace and give them a chance at life. Our biggest barrier is our ego, because we think it is not “our job” to reach out and help, it is so and so’s issue. It can be a life changing experience helping a complete stranger, but what if they change your life for the better too? It is a known fact when you do from heart you are rewarded heartily. So next time you roll down your window and give away a few shillings to a beggar, think because you are participating in a worldwide charity movement. You can either choose to drop the coins and forget it, because it makes you feel better, or get involved and make a difference with an organization. Charity is it’s own plant, it needs water, if you don’t have the intention and resources, leave it alone.