Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Pondering Child Sponsorship

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?

1 comment:

AKmamaOf7 said...

I personally don't "believe" in a carbon footprint...and if you're paying for food and lodging over there you'd be helping the local economy. It's not as if you want to be a free-loader.

I think what you're doing is honorable. People are always going to have opinions on who you give money to, but giving (freely not being forced) is what's important. I am sure the boy is and will be thankful. I think that it is up to you and your family whether you make that connection or not. It would take more time and money and time to send him things and write letters, but he wouldn't mind. Just don't forget about him if you choose to take that route.

With my godchildren I have taken the not-hands on approach. I have 6 children of my own and many more godchildren (for some weird reason) and I have whittled our godkids down to a gift at Christmas and my minimal prayers. I don't want them to expect much of me as I don't have much time to give them.

Sorry, chatty tonight. –Anna