Recently I have become more aware of reality around me. If you have not read my blog on the TED conferences, this may seem a bit out of the blue. So here is the dilemma. I love doing Operation Christmas Child. The gift of a present from one who loves giving gifts, has multiple levels of joy. Recently I have also been considering sponsoring a child, but have always wondered if that was the best the way to help. It's the same with mirco-loans. One person helping one person, multiplied by thousands seems potentially great.
So here is the problem, the awareness I've gained from reading a few blogs from my more aware friends, watching TED talks, reading about Free2work, and other venues have raised my awareness to a level where I now realise I have no idea how to actually help.
Example #1: Since I first read about TOM's I have wanted a pair. It seems great, buy a shoe and a needy child gets a shoe. However a friend posted an informative blog about TOM'sShoes and their day without shoes. Last year I gleefully participated, and I had planned to continue this year. Now my ignorance is gone, and my knewfound knowledge has led me to realise that I don;t want TOM's shoes. I wanted the idea of doing good.
Solution: Research. I do get the whole teach a person to fish analogy, help an economy improve, rather than providing them with handouts. So now I need to figure out where people are being assisted in a way that is beneficial in the long run, and then support it. So much better than handouts, I get it, and yet I still have no idea where to help. Things that seemed like a good idea, in reality may be fish handouts.