I’m contemplative as I sit to reflect on a particular news story of today (14/9/16), and how to write a blog entry of some meaningful value. (Rather than, what feels like impotent irritation and disgust with myself and some fellow humans) I know I have a tendency to rant about the injustices in this world, and at the way the most vulnerable folks in our world seem to get repeatedly shafted.
Today, it is reported, that Ms Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, is appalled at the way current foreign aid revenue is used, and, She pledges to overhaul the current system.
It is alleged that 12 Billion Pounds is spent each year on assisting impoverished nations and those in need on foreign soil. I’m not going to get drawn into the why’s and wherefores, or the reliability and accuracy of this report, because I don’t trust the source at all. (A well known UK Tabloid) However, just because I don’t trust the source, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t some basis in truth to the amount of funding, even if it is twisted or manipulated to satisfy a particular agenda, and to the latter I can personally attest.
I have written before about the experiences I have had and seen with my own eyes. The corruption in the poorest nations, the way that AID money “disappears”, and this is not an isolated occurrence, it happens with alarming regularity.
I recalled recently with a friend, regarding this matter, and on the broader subject of the way the well publicised big charity organisations are OFTEN so top heavy with executive management earning big salaries. In some cases only 3% of revenue raised by ordinary people like you and I, who do, say, a sponsored 5k run or similar, raising one hundred pounds of sponsorship, and how alarming it is that of that hundred quid “three quid” will get to its end need, (buying rice for starving people for example).
In my life I’ve made a horrendous amount of mistakes, I’ve hurt people terribly by my irresponsible actions, I’ve been unbelievably ignorant and stupid, and to this very day I still get self obsessed with “stuff” I need to do……and the majority of these stupid mistakes are because I get distracted at a crucial moment, (my fault), the list of my shortcomings as a human being is endless and sometimes feels as though it is growing rather than diminishing !!!. But one of the few things I am able to contribute to this world, is a rabid desire to empower those folks who are far less fortunate than myself and many of my peers.
Rhetorically, I have to ask, how does a large organisation which exists to help the most endangered folk on this planet, justify spending 97% of its revenue on administering the delivery of 3% ?????….It just can’t be right….Who the hell is calling the shots here ? Who calls these organisations to account ????
Now this is happening on a BIG scale and is not as isolated a case as one might think……..in some other BIG organisations it’s not quite so bad and 5 to 10% reaches its’ end goal.
And then of course we come back to the opening subject of this blog…..the “disappearance” of huge amounts of cash which end up in corrupt foreign ministers pockets, and I have this on reliable authority also.
Regular readers of these blogs will know of my passion for the nation and people of Myanmar. I have it on reliable authority, back in 1997 and for a number of years previous to this, the US were contributing an estimated $770 Million per annum to the corrupt and dictatorial government known as SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council). Amazingly, year upon year, most of these funds went “missing”. So who on earth was appointed by the US to ensure that the funding sent went to the impoverished ????….was this an assuaging of guilt ?, a backhanded deal ? Truth is I don’t know…….but I know this, it stinks to high heaven.
Coming back to our own country, Ms Priti Patel is said to be “furious”………well she and I have the luxury of being allowed to have these feelings, because we eat and drink every day and have shelter from harm…….what about the ones who have none of these extremely basic human needs ?
Now, I know I can’t change the world, but I can change the world of maybe a few people. I wonder…….what would the world we live in look like, if we each did something each day that helped a complete stranger ? It doesn’t have to be money, it could be helping an elderly person with their shopping, it could be listening attentively to your neighbour in a time of their distress, baking a cake for someone in need. Or better than all of these, spend time with someone who is in need and teach them a skill that they did not previously have.
Let’s start a “movement”……. Where each of us undertake to do some random or planned act of kindness each day for someone less fortunate than us……let’s call it…….
“THE HOUR OF NEED IS NOW”
This is not a referral to scripture or any doctrine, it’s not about faith, it’s just about those of us who are lucky enough to have the basic securities that I know I often take for granted, being AWARE that there are 50 million refugees in this world and hundreds of millions living in conditions that most of us would think cruel to a dog.
So Ms Patel, if you are so furious, DO SOMETHING RADICAL ABOUT IT.
I have a few ideas that might contribute to a radical change. These come from my experience of my own boots on the ground projects, wading through raw sewage, digging with my bare hands, in a few diverse cultures, and with, albeit a surface insight into the functionality of Charities and SOME NGO’s (Not all by any stretch) that would shake the “deadwood” from the trees.
MS Patel I urge you, PLEASE, do not be a puppet. You have an opportunity here…..an opportunity to leave a legacy of positive change for the poorest folk on our planet…..be an example to the G20, be a leader that others will follow, be brave, be courageous. Don’t just talk….DO. And if you need any help….call me, I am lucky enough to be able to, and would willingly work for free.
With love peace and hope