Wednesday 28 June 2017

Money, money, money

Money is the root of all evil, I'm convinced of that. People who haven't got money become desperate for it and people who do have money want more!!

A lot of the recent problems I've been having and hearing about in Sierra Leone have been caused by money. People come here wanting to help and one thing they get asked for a lot is financial help. It can be very intense and uncomfortable for the people being asked and I think people sometimes feel like they can't say no, but I think giving money too freely can cause many more problems than it solves.

Some of our students tag onto charity groups and ask for money. Sometimes money is given to these youngsters without their parents knowing - three problem that this can cause spring to mind:
  • Firstly it can create a dependency on the foreigners, the kids get used to being given easy money and any little problem and they'll be back asking for more.....they will more than likely expect you to send money once you've returned home too.
  • Secondly the young people have no idea how to manage money, they might buy a pair of trainers or a phone while Mum is at home with no food to feed the family.
  • Thirdly it can create discipline problems within the family, the kid goes home and mum or dad tells them to fetch water......and get the response, 'you can't tell me what to do, you aren't the one that takes care of me' (some of the parents have told me this happens)
Its great when people come to Sierra Leone to help, and I don't want to put people off from coming......but if you've got teens and younger asking for money stop and think to yourself 'would I want a foreigner I've never met giving my kids money without my knowledge'. If there's a genuine need talk to the families, get advice from people who live in country and understand the culture a little more, try to think of ways to assist that can help the families to become self sufficient.

I'm not criticising anyone, just trying to think of ways we can really help, really make a difference and from what I see and hear daily I really don't think giving money - especially to kids - is the answer.....I've made plenty of mistakes myself and I'm sure I'll make more. I've been ripped off more than once too!!

I know one alone doesn't solve problems, it creates them.

1 comment:

  1. Judy Christie Nelson28 June, 2017 23:16

    Very well written and so very true