“A charity is a black hole into which money disappears,” were the words of one of SA’s top 10 nominated CEO’s. What some might suggest is a harsh comment, I believe is not harsh enough! Some charities are in fact a big black hole that sucks in people’s dream, hopes and literally causes death. And I am not referring to the 94 psychiatric patients, who not so long ago lost their lives to some incompetent South African charity organizations, using “caring helping hearts” as a means to make a quick buck. I am referring to the many real, hardworking, sincere, honest and loving people, really believing that they are making a positive change! Could they literally be killing people?
It was two-o-clock on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, when yet, another 9 year old boy was gunned down and killed in Ocean View. That same evening, a 19 year old, 26 year old and 28 year old were also critically injured and rushed to hospital. Gangsters are blamed, yet I think a deeper look will reveal something startling
I have been working in this beautiful community called Ocean View in the Southern tip of Africa for many years. This is a small community with what might seem, typical South African socio-economic challenges. It is also a community, like many others in South Africa that is overwhelmed with intervention programmes run by charities. In this relatively small community there are over +/-80 active churches and 40 charity programmes running…aiming to bring about positive change in this community! Could their aim be so far off that the target is completely missed? One would have thought that with all the money, sandwiches and clothes generously donated; all the anti-drug campaigns, school bursaries and international volunteers streaming into this community to help; all the grants, free holiday clubs, developing programmes, counselling and Christmas hampers being handed out, Ocean View is Heaven on Earth! Or some slow but positive change would be showing at least. Yet, more people get killed at a greater frequency than ever before, the drug problem is greater than ever, gangs are more rife, teenage pregnancy more frequent and school drop-out higher than ever before! Could there be a link with the amount of charity work being done in a community and the regression of a community? Could it be that our often “white privilege” intervention causes more harm than good? Will Ocean View be a healthier community when charities stop taking away the responsibility of those in the communities? Surely there must be a better way!
LifeXchange is desperately investigating, since we are also intervening in Ocean View, the potential crises charities are causing in communities. With this, we are launching a brand new series, with the name, ‘Charity – there is a better way,’ that will capture our journey, get expert opinions, ask the man on street and get to the bottom of this!
Most of all I am interested in your opinion! You have been giving so much to make a difference in this beautiful country of ours, but maybe without giving much thought to if it is really making a difference. I mean, after giving the guy at the traffic light R2 for years, he is still there, and you have never questioned your intervention method? Your church has been handing out sandwiches in a township school for years now,…and guess what, nothing has changed…you’re still handing them out! You are the business owner, CEO or company that gives thousands of Rands towards Corporate Social Investment, yet you see no real return on that investment…but still you keep on giving?! For any other investment you would have said, “no return = bad business” and you would have changed your approach…but not when it comes to charity. Maybe you should be held responsible for the death of that 9 year old?
At the end of this series, you will either hate us or love us…but you will have an informed opinion. Have your say, speak your mind, draw your line in the sand, and voice your opinion. Because enough is enough…people’s lives and the future of our country depends on it.
Make sure to tune into the LifeXchange Podcast channel (see this Blog!) where myself together with Nikki Thoresen will deconstruct charity and interventions in order to construct a better way to do charity. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and voice your opinion with #charitythereisabetterway