The aftermath of the recent fires in Knysna has been a testimony to the inherent compassion of South Africans and of their willingness to lend a hand when disaster strikes. Notwithstanding, there has also been a fair share of criticism, mostly from people asking where these citizen-humanitarians are when the destitute are in need.
This is a legitimate question, which can be taken a little further: what is the average, middle-class South African doing to contribute to the betterment of their countrymen whose struggle isn’t the result of a natural or any other disaster, but is a continual toil to create a life away from the poverty that plagues a large part of our country?
We believe that personal wealth is inextricably connected to the wealth of our country at large. When unemployment hits a 13-year high, we know that there are a variety of factors that contribute to this, and a variety of consequences – like the presence of crime – that are likely to follow. There are ways to get involved in the upliftment of your community without spending money, but if you are looking to put your money where it’s most needed, this is where you might look to do so.
Choose your cause
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” was a popular catchphrase when I was in high school. It was mostly used by teachers to instil a sense of morality (and probably to get us to say “no” when someone offered us a drink at a party – so much for that).
In the digital age, most of us are acutely aware of the many problems the world faces, and these might seem to be an endless barrage of unsolvable issues. So, we bemoan the state of our country and the world in weekend discussions with friends, but we don’t really actively get involved in at least trying to be a part of some kind of solution. We don’t have time to volunteer, we say.
In the run-up to Mandela Day on 18 July, perhaps it’s time we commit to donating an amount every month that is equal to the amount we spend on drinks while we lament the issues. Herewith, a list of organisations that are in dire need of constant financial support to do their work. All you have to do is choose your cause.
We hear it all too often, but children really are the future.
Making sure the youth are educated is of paramount importance for the progress of South Africa.
These are the people who laid the foundations of the country and its citizens, but this group is often forgotten when it comes to financial and other support.
Training the disabled ensures that they can meaningfully contribute to the society at large.
How we treat animals says a lot about how we treat each other.
NPOs say there is a notable increase in the amount of people who cancel their monthly contributions when the economy takes a knock, and this is exactly what is happening to our economy now. Charity begins at home, you might say, but if you’re not a multi-millionaire (and if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t) what happens in other homes affects yours, too.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
– Ronald Reagan