This is a long-winded way of fundraising, so if you want to skip the blog, just click below! 🙂
Some of you would know of the journey from the head to the heart – they say it’s the longest one. There’s another journey that I’ve been on that has taken a long time too. I’m still not there yet. That journey is the one from charity to development.
I think I probably over-emphasise the importance of the following quote:
“When I give to the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why it is they have no food, they call me a communist” – Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Catholic Archbishop of Recife e Olinda.
However, I really believe that it’s true. We need to always be asking why things are as they are, and look for sustainable ways to solve problems.
It takes a lot of effort and energy, however.
Last month I wrote a piece for Eureka Street about voluntourism. I was challenging the notion of going on short-term mission trips, building houses, taking lots of selfies with poor kids and not looking at the wider issues of this.
What I didn’t mention in the piece of 800 words was how often I have been just that – a voluntourist.
I’ve also made the mistake of bandaiding a problem by throwing money at it, not thinking of the wider consequences. Not surprisingly, it rarely ends well.
One of the great development maxims is “When you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. When you teach someone how to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.”
It’s always my preference to teach people to fish, but, in truth, I’ve never caught a fish in my life, and sometimes there needs to be a more immediate response.
I could go on and on, but rather than doing that, I want to invite you to help, if you have the means with a cause.
Hilda Ibarrola Otazu is a dedicated teacher who has spent her teaching career in Asuncion, Paraguay working for the Fe y Alegria movement.
She is a young mother with a son, and for many years would get up at 3am to travel to and from her work, which involved a three-kilometre walk along dirt roads to arrive at the school “Ca’acupemi” in Bañado Norte.
I met and lived with Hilda when I volunteered in the same barrio in 2009, and many times following that when I returned. She is a beautiful woman who gives everything of herself to her students. Late last year, she was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer.
Much of her treatment and care is paid for by insurance, but she currently needs support to fundraise for a PET scan, which costs around $2500. This amount is what early career teachers in Paraguay make in an entire year.
The easiest way to support her is by contributing any amount of money to GoFundMe at this link.
As you can see, this is a one off kind of a situation, which may not seem to be a great “development” cause. That said, it doesn’t make any sense to me in a situation like this not to do something.
Any small contribution you can make toward this gofundme will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much for considering this!