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.
Finally, I have made my donation to Red Cross Canada for the China earthquake. I have been waiting for the company to setup the 1:1 matching program with Red Cross before I donate my money. There is no need to donate money in a hurry, victims probably won’t use all the donation until rebuilding begins, which is still a few weeks away. Now, I have made my donation and I can get check off this to-do list item. After I have made my donation, I am entitled to criticize how the China government spend the donation. It is my money after all. I have the right to see it well spent to help the victims. Definitely not on buying some over priced supplies.
Since the earthquake, I see lots of groups ask for donation in shopping mall or street corners. Most of them are just holding a box and ask people passing to donate some money. I can never understand why would anyone want to donate cash. It is the most inefficient way of making a donation. You don’t get a tax receipt for your donation, so the donation post-tax money, which is a lot more expensive that it should cost. You don’t get any 1:1 matching from corporate sponsors. I think for anyone who want to donate money, they should donate through their friends who associates with any 1:1 matching program. As a responsible donor, you got to make sure every dollar your donate will brings the most benefit to the victims.
On a second thought, why do we need to donate at all? Here are two simple facts. The cost to rebuild the earthquake area is estimated to be around $70 billion. The Chinese government has over $1 trillion reserve in its bank. Why don’t the Chinese government spent their own money to help their own people first before asking for our donation? At least the Chinese government should have a 1:1 matching program. They should take a dollar out of the huge money reserve for every dollar we donate.