Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why not the U.S.?

Often times when I post information people will ask me why I do not focus on the United States. I would like to clear something up; it is not my intention to not focus on the Unites States. However, I feel it is important to prioritize areas that need the most help. Not to say that Ethiopia needs more help than India, or Mongolia needs more help than Haiti. We all know this is not true. The best answer that I can give is that we are all triggered by different things.

The world needs a lot of help, or should I say mankind needs a lot of help. When one comes across an issue that they can not stop thinking about, I feel it is an important for us to recognize that as a sign that your help is needed even if it is just a small gesture. For me, I was triggered by seeing the children living with the disfigurements caused by Noma. And, even more triggered when learning that this disease is 100% preventable by providing adequate nutrition to the child and making sure that hygiene routines are followed. In one of my conversations with Chris Lawrence from Facing Africa, he shared with me a the following quote: "Poverty is like paying for a crime that one did not commit."  More often than not, I have found this quote to be true.  When looking at the kids who are rejected in their society for something that they could not control, and live so uncomfortably, struggling to accomplish such simple tasks as eating and speaking, I felt that I needed to do more to increase awareness about conditions of extreme poverty.

So why not the United States? Because I have not yet found the appropriate trigger in the U.S. that does not have a U.S. based organization that I feel is incapable of increasing awareness and helping that particular cause.

Also, while reading an article on this morning, I found the U.S. description of poverty quite interesting in comparison to how the majority of people in other countries live.
Here is what I read this morning:

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
  • Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

In closing, it is not that I think people living in poverty in the U.S. do not need help. That is completely untrue. However, I have not yet found an appropriate cause or issue in the U.S. that I do not feel is in good hands with a already capable organization. Not to say that I will not find one in the future. Rather than creating many organizations for one particular issue, it is important to work TOGETHER to support those already formed organizations (performing with ethical business practices) that are capable of helping.