Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Reconsidering Charity and How I've been Involved

So it's Tuesday morning and I've been thinking about this for a while now and there being no timke like the present, here goes.......

I was recently guided to a very interesting (read: disturbing, enlightening, and encouraging) book, Charity Detox  by Robert Lupton. A hardnosed look at what our typical charity efforts accomplish - and they do accomplish results - just not what we had intended in most cases.

Our Food Pantry at Reformation Church is a great example of this. I watch the sullen looks on some people's faces as they come for free food and that has puzzled me. I sensed resentment but never on a conscious level. After reading the above book it now is at the cognitive level and I begin to understand why. Now the challenge is how to change this. That is going to be the next big chapter in the ongoing saga of "doing outreach" where we're planted.

This is also having a reinforcing effect on some of my previous conclusions about Hope Village and Hope Ministries in Zambia. I see a desperate need for community involvement. The buzzwords of sustainability and selfsufficiency need to become real. I see this as an opportunity to build a constituency that is truly involved in the efforts. There need to be members of the community helping in things like meal preparation, cleanup, maintenance (that word missing from the Bemba language). That can pay for the school fees...but it has to be real, meaningful work that is done in exchange for the fees. And if it can be work that actually generates revenue for the community, even better!

The community at large needs to take pride in what's going on there and spread the word!!! That involves engaging the local politicos, which hasn't really been done in Twapia. The tribal chief sold/gave 15 acres of land on the other side of to start a second Community School and there's a group headed there in June. Actively raising the necessary monies to construct the first school building on that site. (There already is a vegetable garden on the site.)

There is talk of job training, although somewhat amorphous at this point. The other NGO about a mile up the road in Twapia has a room full of sewing machines and teaches tailoring. Do you think there is collaboration with them? Heaven forbid! Even though it would make sense to do that. (I guess it's not that hard to understand. We have another ELCA congregation some 10 blocks away from Reformation....."that's the Xerox church, we're the Kodak church".  Guess what, we seem to be headed down the same path those two giants are treading.).

If, just if, Hope had a couple mothers or fathers that would go to Eagle's Wings and get the tailor training, then Hope could invest in two sewing machines and at the very least produce the uniforms for the children at the school themselves rather than relying on largesse from the US. AND it could be a means for revenue generation for individuals and Hope as well. Hmmmmm.

1 comment:

  1. A hand up...NGO donations of animals, for family use and product sales, is another example on a household level. You are talking household effort (donation of animal product) in exchange for schooling. Makes sense.