The poor don’t need charity

HOPEProbably not the title you expected to read on a blog that’s about helping others, especially those less well off! I’m not entirely comfortable with the statement myself, but I am definitely challenged by the thinking behind a campaign I came across recently – ‘UNCHARITY’ by HOPE International.

For too long, we’ve underestimated the power of people living in poverty.

The basic idea behind this campaign is based on microfinance, which isn’t a new idea, but I love this concept of ‘uncharity’. Here it is: providing our money, skills or resources to the poor, is not enough. In fact, this campaign goes so far to say that it has even been a hinderance to people breaking out of the cycle of poverty. HOPE says that “despite our best intentions, this approach has all too often done harm rather than good. Economist Dambisa Moyo reports in Dead Aid that Africa has received over $1 trillion in aid in the past 50 years, and in many countries, growth has stagnated–even plummeted.” A surprising fact, but it definitely makes sense –

By ignoring the God-given creativity, abilities, and motivation of those living in poverty, we’ve created feelings of dependence that cripple dreams rather than expanding them. HOPE International believes that charity is not the answer, that some of the best solutions to poverty come from the poor themselves.

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