Posted by: annpeace | December 15, 2008

The Faces of Charity

The happy and the hopeful, the grateful and the fulfilled – the poor and the rich, respectively.

The Yuletide Season opens more outreach programs and charitable works once again.  Because as they say, it is the time for giving and sharing – a definition that is so inappropriate if not lame.  I mean, just the idea of a specific time as time for giving and sharing sounds rather formulaic.  I like how Charo Santos-Concio defined Christmas though – a representation of what life should be all about.

Sometimes, I don’t feel comfortable with giving away “bundles of joy” to the so called poor especially when giving comes in groups, cameras, and with tarpaulins.  Not that I am too attached with my possessions or I simply do not like seeing other people happy.  It is just that, publicity reduces the joy the bundles give to the “beneficiaries”.

Outreach programs in the form of giving used clothes, sardines, and noodles would seem to remind if not push that some people are unable, incapable of providing for their selves so they wait when the more privileged thinks about giving.  It humanizes life being unfair.

Though the “poor” may display big grins, it gives me an idea it’s because of the flashing cameras that subconsciously commands, “Smile”.  I feel that they know it is some sort of a show and they have no choice but to cooperate. They are not supposed to be choosy about how they got something for Christmas.

Or maybe that is something good about being the “less fortunate”, they don’t have as much pride and they are happy with what small things they have and they are given.  And I am not even sure if that is a compliment.

On second thought, I know it is not really about the poor being always the receivers.  It is not really as black and white as being the more advantaged and the less.  After all, it is sharing and that means a two-way relationship. The poor opens doors to dark realities that the rich may never have seen in their world and realize their world could even be darker – when some of them get too greedy and corrupt despite the much that they have.

To be fair though, I would not like to discount the thought that counts.  There are still sincere givers, I know.  Then again, my most favorite charitable act is still education (though too bad that is reduced to a mere charitable act when it’s supposed to be a right generally) – like educating mothers to make a living (e.g. Mega Moms in Banilad Study Center).  Education may be abstract and somehow difficult to capture with the cameras, but results are concrete and lasting.

Mega Moms have established their own cooperative and make income for their selves and extra income for their respective families. They were taught in Banilad Study Center how to make rags, bags, fashion accessories, among others.  They also run a canteen and accept catering services.  Their bam-i was really good, I loved it!!! A touching testimony from one of the members: “Dako ang natabang sa Mega Moms dili lang sa among panginabuhian pero hasta sa among kinaiya og dignidad.”

Nephew , Fred: “But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around – apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be part from that – as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys…” – excerpt from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Responses

  1. ‘The Faces of Charity” is a good title, wished I have thought of it for my post.

    http://novice101.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/

  2. Thanks! I’m sure you have had good moments in titling posts too.

  3. “Or maybe that is something good about being the ‘less fortunate’, they don’t have as much pride and they are happy with what small things they have and they are given.”

    After much volunteer work in the community I can definitively say that the poor have as much or more pride than anyone else. Now that does not mean they do no appreciate the generosity that is shown to them.

    One of the most unfortunate realities of charity is that those giving often feel the need to publicize or document their giving to make themselves feel better about it and to share it with others. This is often embarrassing for those receiving help. No one wants their plight to be seen by more than necessary, and that shame can even prevent people from seeking help.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

    – Schev


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