I wrote this in India after visiting the Akanksha schools that are working with children in Mumbai's slums doing more with tiny notebooks and paper than I could ever dream. My view of volunteerism and donating completely changed. Here was my response.
My pockets empty –
their bellies are empty too.
What good did we do?
I'm going flat. Linking Directly. Peering through my camera's glass into their glass.
Transparency. Flattening. Is my money really getting there? Are they really getting
what they need? Are the people responsible good and faithful?
I cannot see all.
I am not
I can do better.
I can connect anew —
to see —
I can know names,
Cut out the fat cat.
I can remove barriers that are erected in my mind and go places that leave my stereotypes behind.
Every place, any corner, I cannot go, but I can help people who I know.
And that, my friends, is my view. To be. To Do. To fill my life and theirs too.
And that, my friends is the grail of connecting with those who you help through social action learning projects in schools and beyond. People who donate don't just want to give their money, they want to engage. Perhaps it is very fitting that the winner of this year's NetGenEd project created a video about mobile phone donating. With the people of Haiti still living in the streets – we can give our money but if the money we give is to ineffective, corrupt organizations — what on earth have we done? (Kind of fitting that my dear friend Beth Kanter has a book coming out this month on this very topic — The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change comes out on the twenty first. I wish her all the best and appreciate what she has taught me about non profits and social media. And in light of the situation in Haiti on the streets – it is high time to use these tools for some accountability when we give our money.)
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Tips for minimizing teacher stress
- Discover 10 stress-busting secrets for healthy teachers. What simple routines will help you handle the stress?
- Simple advice for coping with stress at work.
- Learn tips to help you deal with difficult colleagues and students (even those who "hate" you -- yes it is possible!)