Living in the 21st century, information is constantly travelling at the speed of light. This gives those who can have more ‘free’ access to this information the ability, or opportunity, of being able to see what is happening at the other part of the world within split seconds. When we read that the UNICEF has given help in countries where living conditions are way different than those of Canada’s, Europe’s or what we have labelled as First World countries, many people think of it as humanitarian. However, there are times where humanitarian help, usually from non-governmental organizations (NGO) or non-profit organizations (NPO) does not come to the rescue.
Personally, I have known occasions where medicine needed for a certain country sent from Europe has not gotten to the people. Occasions where organizations that promote democracy gives statements regarding a certain country not following their standards to be considered democratic, but they are left at that, in the front pages of the daily newspaper forgotten on the floor of a metro station. Those living inside countries that the organizations target do not see change, because it’s either politics and we know that it is not as clear as water, or just because we are not patient enough because we need to know what they are putting in our families’ plate. However, with politics comes openness to let NGOs and other organizations do their jobs. When things like dictatorships or violent areas and NGOs clash, many times the first two win and the much needed help is not distributed correctly, if distributed at all.
This is not to denigrate the world’s non-governmental or non-profit organizations because they themselves work hard for those most in need. They work for human rights, for the oppressed and for those that do not have our same opportunities for health care, recreation, security, education, transport and stable job positions. These are living conditions worth living with. But there are countries and moments where even if the NGOs or NPOs had the resources to go and give a helping hand, they simply are not able to go through with it. I think that fully relying on these organizations is not where people should put their faith in. First, they are usually far away from countries going through harsh situations. Secondly, most commonly when we think of NGOs and international help, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, UNESCO and the UN come to mind. Well, looking into this, there are actually a lot more less known organizations like Give Directly, charity: water, APOPO, and Green Peace, just to name a few; however, his is where the people come in.
All these well-known and structured organizations started off with one person, right? I’m not saying that you should leave all your studies to go parts where you did not even know existed because you will probably not help as much as you could. But do remember, you can always be that little grain of sand.
Originally published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 10 on March 14, 2018