When I first moved into the house in St. Thomas, every company that has people canvasing descended on the area and tried to get us to sign up for various things. One of those people was one of those “sponsor a child in Africa” style companies. I ended up saying no, despite the person doing a great job at trying to pull on my heartstrings. In the end, he couldn’t come up with a proper rebuttal to the simple comment I had made: why support the people when the government is creating the situation to begin with.
Ever since I was a child, and probably long before that, I’ve been seeing these advertisements for sponsoring children in third world countries, and nothing has changed. The countries still have the same problems, require the same kind of aid, and we here in North America are still bombarded with advertising asking us to help children in other countries so that they can have a more reasonable life.
This frustrates me because it is the government that needs to support the people, and these countries already get millions of dollars in aid every year and isn’t used as effectively or efficiently as it probably could be.
If the government won’t take care of its people, then people have two choices, move or revolt. Governments of the world that want to help the citizens of countries that aren’t as well off should be willing and ready to support its people, not its government, and if people want to move or revolt, then that’s where our time and attention should be placed, not in feeding money into a system that never changes in hopes that the money will eventually fix the problem, even just for one child.
I think that people that donate to these causes are lazy. If they really believed that the children in third world countries deserve better than they would adopt them and bring them to the first world, or work with our governments to find ways to push social change through other governments.
People also have to try to remember that our own country has issues that could use money and attention paid to them. Before you try to save some child in another country by throwing money at the problem, maybe try that here at home first, as the solutions we try to provide for other countries, don’t always work as effectively as we’d hope.
Food subsidies have put farmers out of work in other countries, technology only serves to make its users more dependent on first world resources, and much of the money donated gets siphoned off at various levels thanks to greedy contractors, companies, advertising budgets, and even the people canvasing your neighborhoods.