My boyfriend and I love to watch movies, especially on Netflix. He usually likes to choose the movies because my selection can be a bit eccentric and out of this world, he can’t handle it, LOL. He popped this documentary on the screen, Poverty, Inc. one Sunday evening for we both like documentaries and Netflix tends to have a ton of documentaries to choose from.
The documentary is about Africa and their “poor country” situation where they get charitable donations from a bazillion (not sure but it’s a significant amount) government or non-government organizations (NGO’s). And these charitable organizations profit out of giving more so than African countries do, such as Haiti.
It was a very interesting documentary where I learned a lot about the current economic state of such African countries like Haiti. The information was eye-opening, for I didn’t realize a lot of non-profit organizations could profit so much because my boyfriend works for non-profit and he makes a smudge of profit. Hilary Clinton was talking about Haiti and how it is one of the poorest countries in the world from the presidential debate on October 19th, 2016. It’s interesting because the commentators state that if we stopped giving to Haiti and taught them to fend for themselves, they would actually flourish as an economy. Instead they eat a ton of rice that is given in excess by U.S. and receive solar panels and donated clothes, etc. Toms footwear slogan used to be they would give a shoe for every shoe we bought. But what the company didn’t realize at the time, it was taking away business from those who are actually trying to make a living in Africa.
An old Chinese proverb once said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Companies like Toms have began a new approach to teach, instead of just giving now. This allows the economy to flourish and make the Haitian or other African countries less dependent on hand-outs and gain a sense of independence and fend for themselves. But due to all these charitable hand-outs, the Haitian people are becoming more and more dependent on hand-outs and their economy tanks with every hand-out they receive. Therefore, people that actually have a skill or product they would like to sell, can’t. For example, someone tries to sell clothes with quality cotton made from Haiti, but then through charitable organizations, they get dumped with hand-me-downs that couldn’t be sold at Good Will and other such stores. Now that designer is out of a job because what is better than free? Then the cotton grower loses a job because the designer doesn’t require their cotton and textiles. And finally, the charitable organization profits tax-free. This is the cycle of giving without teaching.
This documentary really set a fire in me and I don’t just want to give anymore. Rather, I would want to invest in some charitable organization that is geared towards teaching rather than giving. Yes, natural disasters happen and they need to be given something in the mean time to survive for those poor nations that do get affected, but we must also rebuild and teach. I guess that’s the moral of the documentary, to spread the word on teaching rather than giving.
We (and I mean Americans or in my part of the world Orange County, CA) might be able to say the same thing about our current poverty stricken communities. Why are we constantly giving to them, instead of teaching them to be hard-working human beings? It’s easier to just give and feel good about doing a good deed rather than building relationships with the poor.
When I was younger, I told myself that I would help the poor. That I would create an organization to help the poor be a working part of society. When I was younger, I was all talk. I learned I am still all talk. I have no clue on what I could do to help the poverty-stricken communities when it’s so hard to place an actual working game plan into action. What do I know? I’m still living with my parents at 30 years of age, looking for a career I love, and trying to find money so at least I can buy my own house responsibly without going under. I don’t want to live a hard life, I just want to figure out what I want to do and make money off of it so that one day I can create a game plan for the poor communities so that they can flourish themselves.
Isn’t it interesting how one documentary can do that to you? It’s empowering isn’t it?