I am from India. Now living in the US. Just starting to record a few thoughts on the net. Let me know if you'd like to know anything from me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Know the hand that receives

Human misery brings about the best in people. Even from people in the middle of it. Disasters, natural and man made, make heroes of unknown souls. People throw themselves at death’s traps to save another from it. Charities begin at home and proceed everywhere.

The year 2005 has seen all of it. It started with an overwhelming reaction to the Tsunami. I was living about 5 miles from Marina Beach, (Chennai, India) when the beach turned disaster area. A gripping earth quake, seemingly a plot from mother nature to unite India and Pakistan, a terrorist attack in London a reminder to the developed nations to fight a war on terrorism and not target just any vulnerable nation, a series of hurricanes in the US announcing Global Warming.

The year that was disastrous was also triumphant. It saw the best being done by people who have it all to people who lost it all.

Media has projected Bill Gates as a ruthless business man for years. But Time has chosen him a the Person of year. With charities over $3.5 billion, the Gates family knows how to give back to the society.

There are way too many charities in India. While they are not enough, (it is never enough), most of them are just bogus.

Most charities run like business. They have no charitable principals but only look at amassing personal wealth. I have experienced this personally. There are Churches that collect money in the name of spreading religion, preachers earn millions in the name of Christ and charity. There are many other charities which give very little to the participants. Foreign funds are never short for these charities. They thrive on this. But the needy receive pittance.

I would suggest the following to any who would like to send money to any charity, religious or not, in India.

1. Participate directly. Depend less on existing social work projects. They may not offer full benefits to the intended.

2. Study the organization. It is not possible for everyone to directly get involved, but it is possible for us to at least gather some knowledge on who is receiving the money. If you are in doubt do not send any money. Try and find a person in your own country who may need some money. I am sure there are many. By sending money to unknown organizations who are crooks you encourage many others to become crooks. Believe it or not this is being done as a business in many parts of India.

3. Gather. Like minded people could come together and pool in aid. When you get organized you could collect more money and also be able to participate directly in the work done in the site.

4. Teach the people to fish. Do not offer fish. This I think is the most important thing in Charity. By offering money you make people feel worthless about themselves. Instead if a small industry is opened that employs offers employment and steady income, you have taken care of the people’s need for a few generations.

There is a adage in my native language, Know the bowl that receives. That is very important.

You may have a lot of money to spare, but strewing it around is not Charity.