Sunday, March 18, 2012

Helping Others; it doesn't take much, but ...

It doesn't take much, and you don't have to do it all by yourself, and you don't have to do everything, or even do it all at once....

The circumstances and needs of others can be overwhelming, both for them and for those of us who would like to come along side and lend a hand.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  At least I don't think it does.

If, for example, you step in and support me and my family, that helps.   But I don't think I would want my family to be dependent on you long term.  What we could really use is some help to step up so we can handle things for ourselves. 

If you sponsor a child of mine, do it through an organization that works with the whole family and community.  A family can have lots of kids.

If you lend a hand so that my family or my community makes progress, well  that can be a real blessing.  One time donations are wonderful, especially in response to crisis events, but if you can, commit for the long haul, like a decade.  Or two.  Getting a couple kids all the way through school would be a big deal for the family.

Doing it well takes skill, insight, and long-term investment of time and attention to the details.  World Vision does that.  They lead with child-sponsorship, but it's really community investment that they do; and they do it well.

TechnoServe has been doing community development in an impressively thoughtful fashion for four decades.

TexasEx.Org is our non-profit organization; we work with some small organizations and directly in communities in Africa and elsewhere.  We do micro-this and that.  Finance, meds, tutoring, home repair, business equipping, scholarships, school renovations.  Five years in the work, so far.  Feel free to join in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Celebrity World ...

Being a celebrity has advantages, perhaps.  Wealth is nice, having an audience is encouraging and affirming, and getting to go and touch the real world is a big deal.  Not all celebrities grow up to responsible adulthood, of course.  They're like the rest of humanity in that there there are a few impressive folks who are working hard for the good of others.

Charlize Theron founded the Africa Outreach Project whose mission is to help "keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS."  Did you know she was born in South Africa?

Bill and Melinda Gates are actively involved in making an end to Malaria.  And much, much more.

George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, others.  Angelina has been the UNHCR rep since '01 and has visited 20 countries.  Ben Affleck is on Facebook with his Africa travels. Impressive efforts all around.

They get to go see and touch the real world.  That's where most children (like the ones with Charlize there in the photo) live in poverty along with their families.  That's where there's no running water, little food, no jobs, no security, no school .... no hope for tomorrow either, unless someone helps out, unless things change.

Did you know you can go see and touch the real world too?  You can go sit on the porch with papa and watch the kids play there in the dirt, just like kids everywhere else in the world do.  You can go with mom to the kiosk and buy a few vegetables and maybe a fish if she's got some money.

You can go to the beach and help the fishermen pull in the nets.  They'll laugh, but they'll let you help.  You can sit on the hillside with the boy and his goats and count the hours.

Somewhere along the way, you'll get a grip on the real world.

It's not an emotion; clarity comes after the emotion is drained away.  It's an understanding and, perhaps too, an ownership of your place in humanity.

Then like a good brother, you can lend a hand and maybe make a difference just like the celebrities do.

What do you think?  Want to go?