Saturday, December 23, 2017
Are you doing good (for yourself)?
If you want to volunteer, and do good, you need to check out Barbie Savior, and make sure that you are doing it to improve the situation instead of doing it to look good.
Some people may ask, "What is the harm of just doing a selfie?"
The problem is that when we show people that we are helping in their most vulnerable, it reinforces the age old tale that these disadvantaged people have no ability to help themselves.
From my experience in visiting the disasters, the survivors and locals just need resources. There may be a lack of food, drinking water and shelter immediately after the earthquake, however, the survivors are not helpless people. There are also doctors, engineers, teachers among them who can rebuild, and care for themselves. Volunteers do not need to do everything for them, and what's worse, volunteer without any prior experience should not even think they can do a better job than the locals.
In places with widespread poverty, there are many people with aspirations and hope. They have ideas and dreams. Poor people are not helpless, they are not stupid. They lack resources. When you visit these areas, I feel strongly that you can listen, learn and respect. Just because you have brought food, does not mean they have to obey you or be grateful.
As same as before, my advice is what I learn from being in Relief 2.0 for years and working with Carlos - "Never Help! Engage, Enable, Empower and Connect"
Visiting the less fortunate allows you to engage and learn from them, experiences which you may have never had. There may be solutions you can work together to achieve.
Ask yourself a question: "What can you get from the situation?"
If you are interested to engage and learn from the experience, then you have something good to gain from it.
If you just want to travel and tell your friends where you have been and what you have done, and feel good about it, you may have a "White Savior Complex"
-- Robin Low