Here’s a question for you to ponder as you make your way through the perils of another Monday morning,
Q. Charity. What does it actually mean to you?
The definition of charity in the Oxford Dictionary (depending on your edition) is: The voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.
Ok, so, another question and don’t worry this isn’t a morality test or anything,
Q. Have you ever and if so do you remember the last time that you told the person behind the counter in the shop to ‘put the change in the charity thingy’?
‘Yes’ – I hear you say, along with ‘So, where’s this going, I thought this was another cool Legs4Africa blog post? Come on, get on with it!’
Ok, ask yourself one last question,
Q. What charity was it on that plastic tub?
I’m guessing unless you carried out this honourable act this morning and can actually remember, you like me, would probably just have to guess. It was probably the RSPCA or something similarly brilliant.
Now I know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who volunteer more to a charity than just spare change, people donate their time and skills amongst various other valuable things. People have always done sponsored something or others for charities that are close to their hearts or picked at complete random. Millions of people also donate lots of money each year to things like Red Nose Day and Children in Need, but in the main a lot of people just donate the odd bit here and there and rarely get to see what sort of difference they have made.
Point being, quite a lot of the time I’m sure we all just say put the change in the charity thing please or something along those lines and we don’t even know who we are donating to! It’s also true that it doesn’t really matter; we don’t actually even need to know which charity our change is heading towards or see what difference we are making, as we know that it is going to a good cause and the simple act of giving itself is indeed a brilliant thing to do! (Plus it lets us surf on that little wave of self-satisfaction accompanied by a little spray of righteousness as we know we have contributed and we are helping the world be a better place.)
Recently I paid by card for something and I was asked if I wanted to round up the payment to the nearest pound, with the money going to the charity the establishment had chosen for that month. Fantastic I thought, if everywhere did this I could do lots more contributing and at the same time keep my bank balance on a nice number ending with a zero instead of a crazy seven or something. This way of donating is a genius thing; in fact it’s an incredibly genius thing and should be encouraged more and more. But it’s also a little bit sad.
Sad? I don’t mean sad. What I mean is…well, simply put, it’s a little bit…yeah sad I suppose. Most of the time being charitable is just a faceless act, (which is still great) it’s sort of anonymous if you think in terms of giving your change to an unknown charity in the shop, or charitably sending a five pound text message to Davina. For ease-of-donating, things are blooming brilliant, but in terms of seeing the difference you’ve made, this is ordinarily imaginary.
Also, some people are put off charity all together at the moment, you hear stories about charities being corrupt and ‘all the money going on admin fees and directors bonuses’ I’ve even heard someone say recently ‘All those Oxfam goats are fictitious’. We’ve recently had some newspapers saying we should stop giving aid abroad altogether as we have people in big flooded houses right here in this country along the Thames who need our help more!!
Charities are pretty far removed from everyday people. We sign direct debit forms and sometimes we press a few buttons and of course we’ve all lied to the people who knock on the front door for that chat that would end up with you paying two pound a month towards injured Canadian lumberjacks ‘Err it sounds great but I just can’t talk at the minute because I’m in the middle of cooking’.
There are not many ways that you can see how your contribution has directly helped another human being it seems, or is there?
Legs4Africa is such a simple concept that even I can understand it!
We want to provide prosthetic legs for people in Africa who need them. For one reason or another, so many prosthetic legs become redundant in the UK each year and with the correct adjustments and the odd bit changed in a little workshop in The Gambia we can. We can not only provide people who need a leg with one, but we can provide a leg for people who previously would have had little hope of ever getting one. (Everyone involved with Legs4Africa always helps out for free)
A real, direct and immediate difference.
To show how you just how personal a donation and charity itself can be, we will be following a certain and not to mention very special leg we have recently received all the way to The Gambia. The leg has been donated by the Frasers from near Glasgow on behalf of Ronnie Fraser who sadly recently passed away.
After being told that they should discard the redundant prosthetic, Ronnie’s daughter Elaine and family rightly felt that there must be something that could be done or someone out there who could benefit from the leg, and they were right…
Legs4Africa shall find a recipient for Ronnie’s leg in The Gambia and will also be honoured to present them with a letter from the family, be sure to connect and follow Legs4africa on facebook and twitter for further developments of this fantastic story as we head off in a few weeks with Ronnie’s and many other legs in the van to The Gambia.
So again a massive thank you to all the Frasers for donating Ronnie’s leg and I’m sure that he’d be truly proud that someone else can benefit from it.
Now that truly is a great Leg-acy!!!