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Sponsor a child

I know many of my friends sponsor a child through World Vision. It only cost $35 a month to provide food, shelter, education and a hope to a poor kid in a third world country. This week Chalice, a program similar to World Vision but run by Catholic priests, come to our church for promotion. The priest display many photos of poor children from all over the world. Each photo come with a brief description of the child and a donation package. You can select a child and become his sponsor on the spot. Pat always want to sponsor a child. She picked a child in Bangladesh because he say he like playing cricket and Bangladesh is next to India. I guess she pick this child to make fun of me.

I am never very kin on signing up to become a sponsor. It’s indisputable a charity good deed so I am not against it. However, I think sponsor a child is only treating the symptom of the real problem, but will never solve it. It definitely makes a huge difference to the child you sponsor or other children share the same facility. But on a broader scale, it is just like fighting fire with a cup of a water. It is pretty much useless. The real problem is there are too many poor people in third world countries. Those poor children should not come to the world to suffer in the first place. Poor children grew up into poor adult who give birth to more poor children. We have to stop this vicious circle if we really want to fix the problem. I wanted to donate money to get things done right once for all, not just treating the symptom. Actually I tried to search for charity programs that focus on family planning in third world country, but I found none. Making poor people having less babies is a more noble deed than the charity work of feeding a few hungry mouths.

8 comments to Sponsor a child

  • shelton

    yup, i always wonder why we have lots of charities out there, but their homeland ‘s situation still doesn’t improve much. it ignites my doubt on these so-called charities not only their abilities but also their intentions.

  • uncleray

    你捐錢給他們,讓他們可以接受良好的教育。某程度上也算是做到你想要的目的吧。

  • uncle: They may get some education, but probably not good enough education to lift them out of poverty. I always wonder what happen to those sponsored children after they become adult. Do they really do better than the non-sponsored children? It seems those children just disappear from the point of view of World Vision until they bring in their children for more aids.

  • shelton: I have a theory that those charity actually make things worse. In the past when there is no charity, when resource in a place can’t support its growing population, people just starve and die, then the supply and demand of resources will go back to equilibrium. Now, when resource runs out but the population keep growing, it will only make the problem worse and worse.

  • exile from hk

    It has long been argued whether charity donations to developing countries is in fact a blessing or a curse. While I don’t support the idea to just “let people starve and die”, I do think foreign help is inevitable until their governments kick in to help.
    Yes, it is not treating the root of problem. But…

    Like in China, thousands of orphans have been adopted out of China since the early 80’s. I can’t really say if these adoptees are getting the long stick or the short one (loss of language and culture etc) but at least they have families who love them now. Charities have also been set up all over China to pay for kids’ school tuition and medical cost. We just can’t afford to not do something when their government fail them.

    That said. You are right. Charity sure can make things worse when local government is getting used to foreign aids and does not feel the need to assign resources to help their own. It then becomes a vicious cycle.

  • You have to understand that you are not the person who solves the problem for the world — but you’re part of the bigger picture to solve the problems of the world through cooperative efforts and measurable actions.

    Imagine that there is no charitable efforts (ie. La Salle or other convent sisters), there will be no developments of you (or me) from Hong Kong which would not allow us to come to Canada with good grades to enrol in the school of engineering — and now that philosophy helps the engineering mind to crystalize thoughts in more cognitive-intelligence approach.

    Why don’t you define ‘charity’ here?
    Have you taken a course on the differences between ‘love’ and ‘charity’?
    How can you define ‘charity’ in cognitive-intelligence approach?
    (please follow up with my questions above here)

    Social service is a common practice in charitable organization. It helps the children there, but if things are taken in a greater perspective, the sponsors are the beneficiaries because they tell you in first-hand information how political and economic turmoils affect their daily lives.

    If you think that your wife is not good enough, think about the husbands and wives in Bangladesh — they die because of poverty and diseases even before having their first child. They labor to find a way to solve problems of helping their grandparents, leaving no room to give a healthy space for their future generation.

    If you think that your kids are not good enough, think about the children in Bangladesh — they die because of poverty and diseases even before having a chance to establish themselves as full-functioning adults. They labor to find a way to solve problems of overcoming the political and economic turmoils of their own country, often leaving no room to have freedom but to suffer and die with hopeless view of the future. Will they ever have a way to express their view? Will they ever have someone to care? Will they ever change their country to help their parents and grandparents who suffered from the past to change the history?

    These stories are probably not new to us. How do you invite these stories into life as first-hand information?

    Since I work day-to-day with children with disabilities, my philosophy system change (or evolve in a better word) day-to-day with them. I just cannot stand for the fact that a person thinks that one can change the world, without realizing that it takes a village to raise a child, which also applies to a community to change the world.

    I appreciate the qualitative approach in terms of using philosophy to open up the minds of people, as well the quantitative approach in terms of using psychology to act upon demonstrating living examples to change the hearts of people.

    Best of luck to your approach.

    – wife

  • According to Kant’s categorical imperative, charity is an imperfect duty.

    One cannot change the world, but the world is an objective system that can be studied and then figure out what is the right way to fix it. It may take many people to cooperate to change the world, but they have to guided by the right theory in order for it to success.

  • Thanks for bringing up Kant’s theory.

    Kant also mentions about compassion relating to human beings, as well as to animals. (no cruelty allowed)

    If I can help to open your mind even further, studies of research guide us to investigate the factors contributing to the phenomenon that you’re trying to explain here. Theory can be changed over time, so is phenomenon.

    With the messy information available in the world, it isn’t an easy job to generate a theory. I appreciate for the fact that you’re helping to sponsor! Let’s keep it up together.

    – wife

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