I listened to a really interesting program on the radio the other day which examined whether sponsoring children was a good or bad idea.
I know many people who sponsor people; including some whose blogs I follow MckMama, and Angie who have been to visit the children they sponsor.
This is Tenzin;
He is a Tibetan boy in exile in Dharamasala in India. We pay for his schooling in a Tibetan school.
I feel that it is important that the Tibetan people have a chance to retain their cultural identity, to speak in their own language, to know and express themselves through their music, art, and traditions. And most of all, I believe their message of peaceful, non-violent opposition is worthy of much more attention than it gets from the wider world. (If you would like to know more about the situation in Tibet, I would urge you to read the book For Tibet, with love: A beginners Guide to changing the world by the lovely Isabel Losada. It's a good and very easy read!)
However, I don't send cards or presents to Tenzin, nor do I write to him.
I'm now wondering whether I should.
What do you think? Should we just give money to communities, rather than singling out individuals? Or, having made a commitment to an individual, is it then our duty to give not just financially but to make a personal connection? Should we be going to visit our sponsored children? Or is that simply creating an unnecessary carbon footprint, and when we get there using up precious resources which the local population need?
What really is the best way to help?