Foreign monetary aid not always beneficial to nations

In today’s world, it’s common for Catholic sermons to extract scriptures from the Book of Mark used during the Gospel reading. My personal favorite verse from the Book of Mark reads, “Those who raise themselves will be humbled … and those who humble themselves will be raised.”Personally, I’m the type of person who believes in doing good for others before they do good unto me and giving to the needy and less fortunate.

The reality is we, who are more educated and resourceful, should stop and think before donating money to charitable organizations that increase and improve food production, as well medical care and other materialistic essentials. During the past 50 years, the world is still finding difficulty in coming to a fair solution to end world poverty. Developed countries are reluctant to distribute aid in the form of grants to help rebuild impoverished nations’ infrastructures. Instead, loans have always been the mode of funding financial aid with the expectation of the dependant country repaying its debt. The truth is that current aid isn’t efficient or adequate. One could argue that is a falsified statement, seeing as both public and private organizations such as Google and Young Life spend millions, even billions, on social development in impoverished countries. Even celebrities such as U2 frontman Bono and famed actress Angelina Jolie have become globally recognized for their dedication to humanitarian work.

However, the harsh reality is even with so much emphasis on ending world poverty, years have passed and poverty hasn’t been squelched, but instead is on the rise. Economies are plummeting due to corruption as in Zimbabwe. The country’s economy is experiencing a notorious 600 percent inflation and violence is chaotically out of control. This is evident, especially in the Middle East where more than 2 million Iraqis are scattered throughout Syria, Lebanon and Egypt in what is being dubbed as the world’s most disastrous humanitarian crisis since Darfur. The reality is that the money being spent on materialistic, but essential, aid isn’t sufficient to ensure economic development.

Today almost three billion people, which is almost half the world population, live on less than $2 a day. Political instability is a major factor of this dilemma. Statistics indicate the 48 poorest countries’ gross domestic products have been recorded to be lower than the three richest men in the world. Developed countries have invested billions into nuclear arms arsenal, and yet if they had devoted at least 1 percent of what they invested it would’ve been sufficient to put every child in a third world country in school by year 2000. The disturbing reality is the world has enough nuclear weapons to destroy itself 10 times over.

One should ask if it’s best to distribute aid in the form of loans for humanitarian causes to benefit the poor at a time of crisis only for them to be expected to pay it back. Is it best to distribute aid in the form of grants that would help fund infrastructural development within a nation implementing debt relief?

What is the solution? Well, instead of fundraisers I feel that rather than help provide, we should help nurture. We should help nurture the poor by educating them to be resourceful and independent. I believe it’s far more efficient if TCU raised funds in such a way as to benefit the poor global community. For example, places like Bangladesh, where during every monsoon season, 80 percent of the country gets flooded, destroying the many shanties that define the poverty-stricken areas of the country. Fundraisers to help support parts of Eastern Europe, like Romania, where poverty is having a social effect on poorer families and some fathers end up pimping their own children to afford a living. Of course, we as citizens of developed countries, can help the poor by monetary donations. However, it’s indicated by statistics that money doesn’t maintain a lasting effect. If we can help the poor help themselves, the social benefits will be immense and poverty will gradually decline and the gap between rich and poor will finally diminish. Hopefully in the near future, this may be a reality.

DJ Perera is a sophomore studio art major from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.