Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Blog Action Day: Your Can Make A Difference
I wish I could write something wise and meaningful on this important day, maybe offer some suggestions on how we can help those around the world who live in poverty. Unfortunately, I don't have any wise words to share.
All I can do is urge those born in poverty not to give up hope. Today I read many stories of families and individuals who started out poor, but they, and their children and their grand-children fought their way out through education, entrepreneurship, loads of hard work and sacrifice.
It was not easy, and sometimes the people fighting the battle did not enjoy much of the benefits of their hard work. But their descendents started life on a better footing, and they carried the torch forward to improve living conditions in their families.
I also believe that each of us can play a small role in alleviating poverty. You can volunteer to teach at a local recreation centre, passing some of your marketable skills to those who are unemployed and have scant marketable skills. That does not require money; just a small commitment of your time.
You can donate some of your books to the local library, so your community can learn and benefit from them.
You can serve as a role model in your community, inspiring young people so they can see that success for people in their community is possible. As a budding writer, I so wanted to meet a Motswana writer, or a Black South African writer, just so my dream could look more real. If they could earn living as a writer, it would mean it was possible for me to do the same.
You can also donate money to a local organisation, of course, to help fund a food programme or skills training programme. My favourite way of giving is through the Charities Aid Foundation's Give As You Earn Programme.
As an employee, you are able to give a small amount to a charity of your choice, and the money goes directly from your pay to the organisation. The good news is that government offers tax incentives, so you don't feel the pinch. Your company may also choose to match your donation rand for rand, doubling your donation.
The Charities Aid Foundation has operations worldwide, and has a portal for you to give online to a charity near you.
In South Africa, Sangonet also has an portal that enables online giving.