WARNING: Heart-breaking content with uplifting call to action!
Today I explored Shanghai with a friend and colleague and I was confronted with the age-old question…to give or not to give to the homeless? I’ve always found this to be a difficult question because I have been blessed with much and always feel compelled to share. If I’m asked for help, I’ve traditionally complied. One cannot know if money donated will be used for food or drugs…or if the person is running an elaborate con to make free money. My mindset has always been to let God sort that out…until today.
When asked for donations today, I complied because it has been my nature. However, my friend (who lives in Shanghai) gently explained to me that in China, the government provides basic needs to citizens and strongly discourages giving to the homeless. She went on to tell me that this is because many cruel adults have handicapped homeless children (slumdog millionaire) and sent them on the streets to get more donations. The thought behind prohibiting donations is that if no one gets donations, these cruel individuals will stop handicapping children. Though this completely broke my heart, it gave me understanding and made certain that my whole practice on donation is being re-evaluated (and certainly stopped in China).
Any issues effecting children are always particularly sensitive for me for I feel that children do not have a choice. Poverty has a startling and resounding impact on children in particular and it is troubling that it goes ignored so often.
My support of organizations like School on Wheels and 1736 Family Crisis Center is precisely because these organizations focus so much effort on supporting children who need it most. These non-profits have set out to provide structure to the aide process and change the trajectory of lives through education, housing, counseling, and support.
I guess what I’m saying is…I’ll be re-doubling my efforts to give stronger support to these causes, and I thank you for all of your past, present, and future support in doing the same!
It is up to all of us to save the children.
Photo source: invisible children