After partaking in a debate in my Global Engagement class over the deservingness of four charity organizations of a $100 donation from our class, I feel far more confident in my choice of Cornerstone International as the most deserving.
At the beginning of class on Tuesday I was very hesitant to pick one charity over the others, because I feel that all of them are arguably worthy the $100 dollars. However, after our debate I am very confident in my opinion that Cornerstone International is the most deserving of our class’s donation. Although I think that each of the charities are being impactful, I think that Cornerstone International is a far more beneficial and sustainable charity and is affecting a larger group of people than its competition.
During our debate I began to notice that the other three charities – Susan G Komen, Give Directly, and Against Malaria – had very secular focus groups and, although I think that these issues are very important and should all be addressed, I feel that Cornerstone International will have a far greater impact on all people within a community. The point was made in class that you can’t save someone who is dying of starvation by giving them a net to prevent Malaria, and that statement really struck a chord with me. I think that the most beneficial thing that we can do for under developed communities is help them to create stable and sustainable businesses and thus stimulate their economies and teach them to make fiscally sound decisions. I think that we should focus more on generating wealth within communities as opposed to giving monetary donations or material goods.
The statement was also made during class that Cornerstone International is “helping people to help people to help people” and I think that is exactly right. I was a little surprised to see that this point was seen as a negative; I think that the goal of any charity should be to have a chain reaction. By helping one farmer in Nicaragua to support himself and his family, Cornerstone International in turn stimulates an entire community’s economy and insures that all individuals within a community have access to food. My problem with the Against Malaria foundation is that it only addresses one problem within a community and is in no way sustainable due to the fact that the nets must be replaced every four years. Similarly, I felt that Give Directly only helped the impoverished to make ends meet; giving someone living in extreme poverty $100 dollars each month will undoubtedly increase the person’s standard of living, but the question becomes: what happens when the money runs out? I didn’t feel that either of these charities had a level of sustainability to match Cornerstone International.
I think that Cornerstone International is unique in that its approach is to help a community to help itself – to “teach a man to fish”, if you will. I feel that this is in direct opposition to Give Directly and Against Malaria who seek mainly to provide monetary or material goods – or to “give a man a fish”. I think that it is far more beneficial to a help a community learn how to be sustainable – economically, socially, and politically – and independent, than to simply give monetary or material donations that could potentially make a community even more dependent and do not give the community the skills necessary for stability and sustainability.