Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Yo, listen up! Blog Action Day: POVERTY

When it comes to the subject of poverty… seriously, where do you begin? It’s everywhere you look, everywhere you go. Of course, that’s to varying degrees. In an African context, poverty is a factor we live with everyday to the point where the man in the street has become somewhat complacent about the issue. On top of news stories of starving children and homeless families, there’s the everyday aspect. It’s rare to stop at a traffic intersection without being approached by at least one person, asking for money.

So what can we do? If you’re like me, then chances are you don’t have the odd million stored in the bank waiting for a person or organisation in need. Let’s face it, times are tough for everyone and so in spite of your truly altruistic personality, sometimes handing over oodles of moola just isn’t an option. So then what? Well what about the concept of ‘pay it forward’? Random acts of kindness, however small, go a long way in making a difference in our world. For the most part, kindness doesn’t cost a cent, and call me naïve, but I’m convinced compassion and kindness make a difference. So you can’t fork out money to every guy that asks for a handout. But you can pay him the respect and dignity he deserves as a human being.

On top of that, there are lots of projects on the go that tackle poverty in different ways. Be it a Shoebox Collection (more on that later) or helping out on a Habitat for Humanity initiative, every little bit goes a long way. Next week, my company is doing its CSI bit by helping to build houses at one of the nearby townships, Mfuleni. I’ll update this with more details later, but it’s a great project where over a period of five days, we’re going build two houses for families that don’t need a home. I’ll be there on Day 5, getting stuck in and doing what I can. Nothing glamourous there folks, but I’m going to try my damndest to make a hard hat and work gloves look fab! (‘Wonder if they come in pink?… )
But seriously, if you look around, there are lots of ways to get involved in tackling poverty in your neighbourhood, state, country, whatever. Remember, it starts small, so do your bit to make a little difference and together we’ll make a big change!

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