When I traveled to Uganda for the first time in 2009, I was blind to many harsh truths concerning the humanitarian aid being poured into the continent. In my mind, anything I could give to the people of Uganda was a gift that would better their lives for years to come. I loved seeing the smiles on children’s faces when I handed them candy, shillings, clothes, food, shoes and school supplies. I was helping the less fortunate Africans. I was changing the world! Or so I thought. . .
What I didn’t realize, but would come to learn a year later when I returned to Uganda to drill a well, was that my handouts were not helping the locals. My handouts were enabling them. There is a reason that an American cannot successfully walk the red dirt roads of Africa without hearing constant screams of “Mzungu(white person), you give me money!”
It is because we do.
We do give them money. When they ask for money, we give them money. When they ask for clothes, we give them clothes. When they ask for food, we give them food. And what does it teach them? It teaches them that if they need something they need not attempt to acquire it for themselves, but rather, can rely on humanitarian efforts to fulfill their needs.
We have created a continent of dependence.
Back in high school, I went to Mexico every year around Christmas time to build homes for the homeless. And since then, I have partaken in numerous humanitarian efforts. My intention was always good—I wanted to help people. What I didn’t realize back then was that for the most part, I was learning how to give temporary relief rather than lifelong sustenance.
I want to change that, and I want you to help.
What we can do together is change the world, one life at a time. We can give the power back to the people. We can provide them with a means of sustainability, rather than give them temporary aid that not only enables them, but hurts their local economy.
I want to give the Abba House orphanage and the fourty-two children therein a farm. I want to hire the locals and the boys from the orphanage who have aged out of the system to work the farm, thus creating opportunity for employment. I want to give them goats to fertilize the land and create additional income through breeding and selling. I want to give them the opportunity to provide for themselves. To feed themselves. To sell the surplus at a profit. They need a tractor. They need money to clear the land, farm the crops and hire work so that eventually, it will be self-sustaining.
Will you join me?
www.firstgiving.com (Kewl Farm Project)