The theme for this week's blog is 'Giving' inspired by Josie's charitable work and Action Aid's new campaign focusing on the amazing feeling their supporters get by helping developing communities work their way out of poverty. (Looking back now at what I have written I am a little surprised at the diatribe, but it is honest and straight from the heart - sorry if it is so serious).
I am tempted to get very cynical about giving. Over the past 24 hours there have been some really damning reports about foreign aid. First off there was an article about how UK Government aid is more linked to commercial interests than needs, then there was a piece discussing how in Haiti the aid was not helped by the diverse agenda of the aid agencies involved.
Then lets think about other ways of giving. Our Government is encouraging us all to work for the Big Society and give our time to help our community. Funding for community initiatives are being slashed, but that is fine as having been shown the error of our ways we will all volunteer to pick up the pieces. I have worked for a charity setting up board level volunteering partnerships, and I am a trustee of a fab organisation that relies in part the amazing team who give their time so generously - but I know to build rewarding relationships it takes time and effort. Volunteers need recruiting, often training, they need to be given a brief and support - and without the cash, charities often can not harness the potential of volunteers.
Do I disagree with charitable giving? Absolutely not! I am a Mum and I can't see pictures of distressed children in Haiti, Pakistan or hear about the latest heroic fund-raising effort on Twitter without being moved to donate. I just wish that rather than donating a few pounds and hours I had a fully functioning magic wand that would really worked.
I refuse to be cynical - but I am sad. Sad that there seem to be no ideal or quick fix solutions, sad that there is so much need and I can't do more, sad that the world is not fair. Just because there are no easy solutions I am not going to give my self the excuse not to care or not to contribute. I know that I could do more, I wish I had more money to give, but I am an optimist and believe in hope. I believe in the power of individuals, as together we do make a difference. I wish Action Aid ever success in their new campaign!