Lately, I’ve really been getting into the whole local vs global charity debate. We are a US-based non-profit that raises money for developing countries, so I’m sure you can already guess what my view is on this. However, I don’t think it’s a right vs wrong debate.
I’m in no position to judge who needs help more than the next person. And you’re probably reading that going, “Yeah, but you give to other countries, so you must feel they are more needy”. Point taken. You’re right, I do. But that doesn’t mean I feel people here in the US are not needy, or that you shouldn’t support local charities. In fact, exactly the opposite.
I’d like to outline some of my thoughts on why I want to help the poor in developing countries:
1) It’s what grabbed my heart. It’s as simple as that. I was in Uganda on a mission trip. We were driving in the bus, heading out to a village from Jinja. Along the side of the road, I see a guy who was sitting under a tree. His bike was on the ground next to him. Like most of the people in Uganda, he was very poor. 52% of the people living in Uganda live under the international poverty line of US $1.25/day. By those standards, I’m extremely wealthy. I looked at him and thought, “The only difference in our lives is the fact that I was born in the USA and he was born in Uganda. What did I do to deserve my life? Nothing. I need to do something to help.”
2) Government. Simply stated, most developing countries do not have a stable government. Most of the governments are dictatorships that pose as democratic. Most of the governments are corrupt. Therefore, the governments typically do not provide much assistance. And I’m not sure the governments could. Some of the governments are extremely poor, too.
3) The need seems greater to me. Take a look at these videos (not made by us): http://bit.ly/9pkpp1 and http://bit.ly/drjsbd. To me, they do a great job of showing the need for clean water. I personally just don’t feel like we face this level of challenge in the US.
Ultimately, I think the debate comes down to this…find where your heart is and support that. If it’s local, support local. If it’s global, support global. In the end, it does not make sense to fight and argue over which is better. There is need everywhere. It makes more sense for us all to work together and support each other in providing for the needy, wherever they are.