Friday, March 05, 2010

Personal Philanthropy

I’ve been having a spirited exchange with someone who self-describes as a “Reagan Republican”, and as such is about as far to the right as I am to the left.  After my recent trip to the bank to wire money to South Africa, he questioned why I would want to be helping children halfway around the world when there was such a need here at home.

My response was simply:  Most children here go to a school with walls and a roof.  The children in Mozambique have neither.  And besides, my $100 will go a lot further there than it ever would here.

I have been following the saga of these children and their schools in Southern Mozambique through Angela’s blog.  Last year she reported the following concerning one of the two schools which had recently been built there:

"A cyclone devastated one of the schools! And so since 2007 the children have no roof over their heads." We asked the Sanctuary management about details, and Guillaume wrote on June 16, 2009:
"Primary school of Matsopane
Number of children : 316
Age : 6 - 16
Hours: 06:30 - 11:30 (Group 1) and 12:00 - 17:45 (Group 2)
A new roof structure would cost Rand 30 000."

Angela has been trying to drum up foreign assistance to help with the cost of rebuilding.  So despite my difficulties last year in wiring money to this part of the world, I decided to try again.  To my delight the money arrived the very same day I wired it. 

Hopefully it will add a section of roof or some cinder blocks for the walls.

I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I get great pleasure in connecting with real people in need instead of going through large organizations, both at home and abroad.

I will beg to take issue with my isolationist friend and will take pride when there is once again a roof on the little school in Mozambique.


Blogger Russell said...

Good for you! I remember listening to President Kennedy talking about the torch having been passed to a new generation of Americans -- and you are a part of it.

It is in the small things that big things get accomplished. And it is doing little things over a long period of time that major change can be made.

I have a lot of respect for what you are doing. You are a good example for the rest of us.

Take care.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Russell -- I never thought of myself in such glowing terms, but thank you.

I have a new policy: Any Blogger who leaves a comment on 2 successive posts gets added to my link list. So you are on!

I would love to know how you found my Blog. I'm guessing through Pauline. I would also like to know more about your dog Bailey. Feel free to e-mail me at if you wish.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I don't think that it's anyone's right to question how you spend your money. It's not like you neglect local children. You actively volunteer in a local shelter and the schools in Botswana and Mozambique do so much good.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- That's pretty much what I told him. We agreed to move on to something less controversial.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I sponsor a child in the Philippines through Children International. I reminded of the story of man walking down the beach, throwing washed up sand dollars back into the surf. When stopped and told that what he was doing wouldn't matter, because he couldn't possibly throw all the sand dollars back into the ocean. He picked one up and tossed it into the water. "Matters to that one," he said.

1:25 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

i liked kellyanne's story
(though i don;t know what sand dollars are)

making a difference is good anywhere isn;t it?

4:00 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kellyann -- What a great story! My contribution is just a drop in the bucket, but hopefully one that will matter in the same way.

Lettuce -- Don't you have sand dollars in the UK? Check this out.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Suggest he match you dollar for dollar and spend his money here - then things might even out a bit in his mind... ;)

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EVERY drop matters!


1:38 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Bravo, Barbara! After all, when it comes to helping people, why should an artificially-drawn national boundary even matter? A child is a child, and you're right -- children in this country have a social support network that doesn't begin to exist in poorer countries overseas. (And no thanks to the Reagan Republicans, I might add.)

11:09 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Thank you so much for all you do, Barbara! You are right, every single Dollar there is worth a whole lot, and I KNOW you also do many things in your own country. But these Mozambique children who write me letters saying, "I learned to write!" make my heart sing! I am glad we have you in the boat!!
I also did not know what sand dollars are. Yes, I would have thrown them back in, too.

5:54 AM  

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