13 November 2006
Why charity doesn’t always start at home
Sarah Goodwin explains her reasons for prioritising international charities.
I’m often asked why I don’t support charities or campaigns that affect the United Kingdom; why I choose to donate money to people in Tanzania instead of a charity that helps British people; or how I can walk past a homeless person in my own city when the plight of strangers in a far away country upsets me. These are questions I sometimes struggle to answer. However, whist I choose to support international projects, other people choose ones that are close to home, and whilst I choose to help disadvantaged people, other people choose to help animals. The best thing about living in a democracy is having the right to choose.
But what are my reasons for choosing international issues?
Well I guess in effect they chose me. My interest started during the Make Poverty History campaign in early 2005. I sat back, and for the first time, I watched, I read and I listened. Reading accounts of families forced to drink dirty water because they have no alternative, whist we sit here drinking the purest water we can find, is hard enough. But then seeing videos of malnourished children orphaned by AIDS, or watching as people die from illnesses we can cure by a trip to the chemist, really took it to a new level for me. So I took notice and decided I wanted to help. Whether that involved writing to MPs, signing petitions, donating money or raising awareness, I was in a position to help so why shouldn’t I?
I now spend time each day catching up with the latest developments from Oxfam and Generation Why, I read all I can about the Darfur Crisis, I buy fair trade, I donate money and I plan to do humanitarian work in Kenya. I do care about other issues but if I were to spend the same amount of time worrying about the homeless in the UK, needy animals and other causes, I’d have no time to sit back and enjoy my own life. I’m all for helping others but you need to live your own life at the same time.I find in this country a lot of people prefer to support local charities and that’s their choice. Who am I to question it? But I want to help and support Oxfam, so that’s what I’m going to do.