[UPDATE]Of the little of the Comrades Marathon I watched today I saw two crazies running for Operation Hunger wearing chefs hats and outfits and waving wooden spoons. 89 kilometers in that?![END UPDATE]
“30,000 children die each day of poverty. We can help to stop this.” This is the message of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY which is a “massive, concerted effort to end world poverty in a year when extraordinary and radical progress is finally possible.” I’m sure you’ve seen the “Live Strong” yellow armbands which are being sold to combat cancer? Well now you can do your bit to eradicate poverty – by wearing a white “Make Poverty History” band and by putting political pressure on our leaders.
The website at makepovertyhistory.org continues
“The political events of 2005 mean that there is a unique opportunity for us to be the great generation that said ‘enough is enough.’ With enough public pressure – politicians could change policies on Trade, Debt and Aid, which would change the lives of 800 million people. It IS possible.
Together we will write to, text or email Prime Ministers, Presidents and Members of Parliament – we want you to repeatedly make it clear that 30,000 people dying unnecessarily each and every day from extreme poverty is absolutely and totally unacceptable.”
This movement has originated in the UK – yet how many people die there each year due to poverty? I’m guessing not many. My point is that something has been started by people who will not see any material benefit to themselves – they are doing this because they’re concerned and they’ve realised they’re in a position to do something about it. How different from businesses who engage in social action because they know if they don’t it won’t be good for the public image – an attitude which is obvious to employees.
Caring about the poor isn’t an image thing – it’s a heart thing – which is difficult to fake. As a Bright Young Thing I want to know that a company I might work for cares about making poverty a thing of the past. Suggestion to companies: buy a whole bunch of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY bands and give them to your staff.
Or not! You’ve just missed the point! Yes, buy the bands and give them to your staff, but only after doing something to make poverty history in your area. Are you located in the city? How can you uplift the area around your offices? How can you help the people there? It’s winter now – so buy some blankets and let people give them to those-people-at-robots-we-never-really-know-how-to-respond-to on the way home. With some food. Or encourage people to buy a copy of “Homeless Talk” – the newspaper sold by the homeless on the streets of Joburg. Allow your people to make a difference in your area…because the Connection Economy is about who you are.
[UPDATE] Recently the G8 voted to cancel the debt of 18 of the world’s poorest nations – which is an excellent move. Yet the only comment by an African on the BBC article entitled “Is aid the answer for Africa?” comes from a South African in Umdloti: ” The UK and US should do nothing for Africa. We already have enough troubles without their interference.” Dare we be grateful…or should we let ourselves display the same “we-don’t-need-anyone-else” arrogance we so often accuse the US of?