Why should I give my money to charity?

“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”
― Chinua AchebeAnthills of the Savannah

So, a few days ago my friend showed me this…

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It’s been circulating the internet and people are obviously all riled up from it (including me!). Although it’s clearly from a credible source, and Facebook is rarely full of fake news, I thought I’d help put some things into perspective and try to justify it for all those who were so bothered by these stats (including me!). This might be a bit more ranty than usual but the whole thing has been driving me bonkers even if the statistics are completely made up. I did some research, I did some reading, and here are my 5 points explaining why these stats deserve more thought…

  1. Steve Jobs had a net worth of $10.2 billion. That’s 793 times more than Christian Aids CEO salary. Doesn’t make you question every time you buy a new £700 mobile phone though does it?
  2. Stockbrokers in the UK earn an average of £133,868 a year. So, put that into perspective when you think about how much the CEO of Oxfam should earn. The top dog of Oxfam who has a worldwide team who help support, manage and run the organisation that fights for equality and the reduction of poverty, actually gets paid less than a stockbroker from London.highc
  3. It might be surprising that Save the Children who work in 160 countries, have 160 offices with thousands of people working worldwide for them and for the millions of children that they help every day. So, although they are charities, they are also organisations who provide much needed jobs for people, who believe it or not, deserve to get paid for their extremely hard and much needed work. And it’s not easy, they don’t just spend all your money on themselves. That’s why people like me, who want to help change lives and work with these amazing charities too, must spend years in education followed by years of unpaid volunteering before my CV will even be looked at when applying for a lower-level paid job with UNICEF. Do you have to volunteer unpaid at EE for three years before working with Apple? Nah, yet here we are buying £15 chargers off a man who is getting paid £8.87 in that starting position, and questioning whether we’re gonna give £10 to the British Red Cross.
  4. Why are we even questioning about the money we give to charities? Of course, not every single penny is going to go directly in to the mouth of a hungry refugee child in South Sudan, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. But when people are suffering even slightly, when even a penny from a pound might change someone’s life, why would we, us people in the western world who don’t question our £45 dress from Topshop, question donating cash to charity?
  5. And you know what? If you still have a problem with it, don’t give money. Go out and make a physical difference with your own hands. 

I know it seems like a lot of money, and to most of us, we’ll never earn £240,00 a year, but when you consider the facts, the work involved and compare it to other high-earning jobs then it’s not so shocking at all. In an ideal world, the pay gap wouldn’t be so outrageous, and charities wouldn’t even exist because no-one would be starving, or suffering with cancer. But here we are, with the world’s top 8 richest men earning more than half of the world’s earnings put together, and Wayne Rooney kicking his ball around whilst raking in £250,000 per week.

And although there are many arguments (some of which I question also) regarding the ethics of charities and how well their work is actually implemented, the chances are that unless you’re attempting to change things yourself, the only option left for you is to do nothing and not give. Not giving at all is much worse than giving a tenner and hoping that at least half of it goes to someone in need. If you’re having second thoughts, then do your research. Look in to the different charities, look in to where your money is best invested, and look in to how they actually aim to make a difference. You can keep that all in mind next time you’re giving your hard-earned cash to charities.

a useful link about how to give donations more wisely >>>> http://time.com/money/4118017/charity-donations-giving/

Rant over, deep breaths, go do some good in this world.

Thanks for reading!

Vanisha

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Angelina Jolie, Netflix and the Rohingya

So, my favourite gal ever has just released her newly directed movie-documentary ‘First they killed my father’ on Netflix. Angelina Jolie’s new film is based on the memoirs of Loung Ung and her life and escape of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. For those hearing about the Khmer Rouge genocide for the first time, know that in the space of four years, an estimated quarter of the Cambodian population were murdered, as well as many others still living with the after effects and consequences of their reign. That’s an estimated of just over 2 million people.

Cambodia Refugees

The Khmer Rouge took control of the population and enforced ideas of a farming utopia, where no one would be educated, no one had ‘foreign’ influences and everyone was ‘equal’. Their four-year plan would eventually lead to extreme famine, deaths from exhaustion and a country filled with landmines and mass graves. Anyone with skills, educations, certificate, religious backgrounds and those from ethnic minorities were prosecuted and murdered usually to a blow of the head as the Khmer Rouge had a shortage of bullets. The country had barely any doctors, lawyers, teachers or nurses, so those who were dying, had no help.

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Ung’s story

Now, I’ve read Ung’s book and cried almost all the way through it. Her story is heart-breaking and is just one of many. The Netflix movie however, is filmed from a different perspective and is only a snippet of the book. There’s minimal dialogue and could probably be a bit confusing for someone learning about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia for the first time. I would definitely give the book a read first or do a bit of research prior to watching! At first, I wasn’t 100% sure about Jolie’s remake but once the credits rolled up, I was almost clapping. She’s an amazing woman for sharing the story and making Ung’s story known. So many people are unaware of the horrors that occurred, and it’s not something we would know about otherwise so kudos to Jolie for raising awareness about a topic so close to so many people’s hearts. Her extensive charity work and adoption of her Cambodian son, as well as his own presence and role in the making of the film goes against accusations that her ‘western’ perspective and influence on the story could be negative in any way. She uses her platform and skills to bring important matters to light. A-mazing I tell ya!

angelina-jolie-and-loung-ung

 

Cambodia today

Cambodia was one of my favourite South-East Asian countries that I’ve visited. It’s full of culture, beauty and religion but at the same time you can feel the history, pain and hurt that the country felt and still feel today. Only five people were ever bought to justice for the horrific crimes, and Cambodians continues to live alongside their executioners for years after. The Khmer Rouge’s attempt to reboot society meant that generations of people grew up learning how to fight and kill rather than to teach, heal and help. Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries with 30% pf the population surviving one less than $1 a day. The poverty and effects of the genocide is visible all over the country. Psychiatrists estimate that almost half the population are living with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) with 50% of babies born to survivors also developing mental health disorders although they haven’t been physically exposed to such traumas. Slanzi is right when she says that in this case “the simple passage of time does not heal everything” (Slanzi, 2013).

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The relevance today with the Rohingya refugees

Although it’s amazing and inspiring to raise the awareness and importance of the Cambodian history, it’s also extremely relevant today. The Rohingya refugee crisis is the now the fastest refugee crisis of our time with over 500,000 refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar within the space of just over one month. UN high commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the situation is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Systematic violence includes severe beatings, gang rape, mass killings and extreme sexual violence. We cannot sit back and watch this happen, learning from the Cambodia atrocities, we must do more to help people facing persecution. Ayesha, a Rohingya refugee who has now fled to Bangladesh said she was raped by twelve soldiers whilst she was held at knifepoint and her family were in the house. It took her eight days to be able to walk again. Her sisters who were also raped, were so badly weakened that they died. They’re in desperate need of aid, food and shelter as well as provisions in the camos in Bangladesh that many have fled to. Their identities have been destroyed, they live in absolute fear and the trauma that they have faced is unimaginable.

Below are some links where you can find some more information on both crisis’s as well as ways you can help and donate. Give the documentary a watch and the book a read! Let’s raise awareness and make a difference in this world 😊

 

Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge:

 

The Rohingya refugee crisis:

 

How to help:

 

Thanks for reading guys!

Vanisha

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Where’s our humanity? Time to get Syria-ous.

“Human life is human life whether it is in the east or west or north or south. Perhaps it is difficult to imagine the suffering of others if it is not happening in our own backyards. If it’s not our skies lit with flames. If it is not our sleep shaken awake by bombs instead of alarm clocks. Death is death and pain is pain no matter where in the world it is felt.” – Rupi Kaur.

 

This is my first angry rant-y blog. And it’s a pretty deep one so this is your heads up. The war on Syria and the refugee crisis breaks my heart daily, due to the fact that nothing is changing and the situation is becoming more desperate by the day. It’s the greatest humanitarian failure of this century. The recent chemical attacks have killed 89 people, including children, and the death count is rising. This is a war crime, a crime against humanity, on every level, completely wrong.

 

Two weeks ago, my Facebook feed was filled with people from this country who suddenly had a voice and an opinion on the   attack in London that left five dead. So let’s hear you now? Where are the Facebook posts and flags? These people have no safety checks through Facebook unlike the handful of people who were marking themselves safe even days after the event in London, even when they lived nowhere near the event, and even though they were obviously safe. How self-important are you? And how shameful for Facebook to even create such a mockery out of a serious incident. Let’s be realistic here for everyone marking themselves safe and thinking that it’s relevant when the police would have contacted your family so much sooner than Facebook realising there was an incident, creating a safety check button, then you realising there was an incident, going on to Facebook, checking yourself in, then your loved ones seeing it saying “aw thank god they’ve checked in because I had no idea otherwise”. I think it’s full disrespect for the people who were actually affected, and just a joke to make people feel like they could ‘get involved’ in some way.

 

I’m so sick of seeing this war on my feed then looking at the privilege, greed and wealth around this country and others in the West. I’m so sick of people telling me how kind I am or how much of a good heart I have, when you’re completely capable of being the same kind of person too. It really makes me laugh, what’s stopping you from caring too? Or is it that you just don’t?

I’ve woken up today angry and sick of the laziness and just general lack of care. What are our priorities? What do we really care about? I don’t believe that anyone in this country is too busy to volunteer, or too skint to donate money when they party twice a week and buy Starbucks every morning. Where is our humanity?

 

Now, I’m fully aware that single-handedly, I can’t change the world, but I know that in years to come, we’ll look back on these times and feel great shame and regret for all the things we could have done and all the times we could have tried.

I’m not sure what my point exactly here is, but I guess I have a lot of hope. Hope that we can change our ways of thinking and start to show responsibility and activism for people who are helpless, desperate and who have no platform to raise their voices. I hope for everyone to have the right to life like we do, lives full of opportunity, have achievable dreams and full safety, away from fear, danger and harm.

 

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, p. 270. Howard Zinn

 

Here’s what you can do today….

  • Watch the white helmets on Netflix. It’s an amazing documentary that shows the reality of the Syrian war and the humanity and absolute love of those helping and saving lives.
  • Sign this petition on Amnesty International to encourage the UN to take further action against the war crimes:

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/demand-justice-victims-syria-idlib-chemical-gas-attack

  • Educate yourselves and donate to any of these organisations:

http://www.iamsyria.org/take-action.html

https://www.whitehelmets.org/en

https://www.unicef.org.uk/donate/syria/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwzpfHBRC1iIaL78Ol-eIBEiQAdZPVKo77wnE0ekCwLCfl1vFlhngtZt8qPdACPezEUPqL7HgaAjBu8P8HAQ&sissr=1

  • Fight racism and the fear of refugees. Educate yourselves, raise awareness and open your minds, arms and hearts.

 

Thanks for reading my rant,

Be kind, be thoughtful and have hope!

And have a wonderful day!

V