As we close out the year, we want to thank our PovertyCure blog readers for reading and contributing to our blog. If you’re a new reader we encourage you to catch up by checking out our top 5 most popular posts for 2016:
When an organization, particularly a residential care institution, focuses exclusively on providing for children, over-extended parents are more likely to send their children away, assuming that their sons and daughters will have better access to care and opportunities at an institution, rather than in their family’s home. Parents are trying to do what’s best for their children. But studies show a disturbing trend: children in these situations become more, not less, vulnerable. The trauma of being separated from their families and the impersonal attention that they may receive at an institution can make them more likely to experience developmental delays, difficulty forming attachments, exploitation, and abuse.
The rights and responsibilities of private property must be supported. One of the crucial lessons of development economics is that the poor cannot create wealth for themselves and their families without secure property rights. The Judeo-Christian tradition provides powerful resources for encouraging the property rights of the rich and poor alike. It shows that private property is not an artifact of greed and possessiveness, as many believe, but rather a legitimate institution rooted in our role as stewards of what God has entrusted to each of us.
If government were to reduce its role – or at least slow the growth of programs – in the charity sector, churches and private charities could in turn fully assume the role that they were created for – to help those in their community. Some argue that this may result in less money dedicated to the poor. But, I counter that any reduction would be offset by the targeted nature of the benefits. Subsidiarity works because locals have access to specifically local information. So, benefits are designed specifically to address the specific needs of specific people in a specific community. Simply put, local givers give more efficient gifts – especially when compared to the current, bloated, top down approach in which one size is assumed to fit all.
One minute, I was alone … and the next, I was overrun. While I was answering emails on the last day of a trip to visit savings groups in Asia, teenage girls suddenly swarmed into my bedroom unannounced, covering giggles with their hands.
These girls—who lived at the orphanage next to my guesthouse—asked to see my clothes and touch my hair and page through my books. They called me “sister” and showed me how to wear the sari I bought that week, explaining that only married women wore saris. Whoops! They acted shy at first but were soon gently elbowing each other out of the way to have me photograph them by the window.
Occasionally, development work and development workers can be agents of social justice. Unfortunately, it was my experience both in Paraguay, South America, and later in Senegal, West Africa, that development initiatives often do not foster social justice. In fact, development work sometimes contravenes social justice precisely because the industry buys into the sentimentalized version of the world’s poor.