Apr 18, 2011


Rough day today for 2 reasons.

1) I realized (for the 2nd time) that I can't control people's minds no matter how hard I try, even when it's for a good reason.  Kind of a bummer.

2) Cause of this: "Is Three Cups of Tea Writer A Fraud?".  If you don't want to read the article or watch the segment it's basically saying that Greg Mortenson, who has built dozens of school's in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of an experience he had over there where some villagers saved his life, fabricated much of his story and is using his non-profit as a "personal ATM". 

I've read the articles, seen the 60 minutes piece, read his responses and frankly, I don't know if he's a fraud or not.  But in my mind it doesn't matter a whole lot.  Just that fact that he was able to build even one school in the area is amazing.  How many of us have started organizations like this?  How many of us have dedicated years of our lives to helping children in distant countries?

My biggest concern about all of this isn't whether he made up stories or not, its what's going to happen to NGO's all over the world.  Now people are going to be more hesitant to donate time and money.  People are going to second guess what they're doing.  But you know what?  Every organization is going to make mistakes along the way.  Everyone is going to wish they had done something differently, but as long as they're able to help even one single person, its worth it. 

So find way's to help.  If you're one of the people who keeps saying that they really want to go on a humanitarian trip, do it.  I guarantee you it will be one of the best experiences of your life and you will enjoy it more than any cruise you can take or beach you can sit on.  I know that going on these trips is expensive and takes time so if you can't go try and help around your city, do it.  Every NGO needs help and will be grateful for anything you can give.  Here's a list of some I'm familiar with that would appreciate as much help - time or money - that you can spare.

Foundation Escalera  - Builds schools in rural parts of Mexico and provides scholarships for kids to go to high school in Mexico City (Donations and expeditions)
Choice Humanitarian - Works to end poverty around the world through schools and creating a better living environment for people (Donations and expeditions)
The Tipping Bucket - How far do you think $1 can go?   Check this out and see for yourself
4th Street Clinic - Provides free health care to Salt Lake's homeless and helps them get back on their feet
Ten Thousand Villages - Sells art and crafts from around the world paying artisans in developing countries a good and fair wage for their work


holtkamp said...

i agree with you soup. as all ngos have good intentions, i think some are just not as well managed as they could be. i think this is a good opportunity for CAI to assess their financials and work on their follow ups.

we really like what your family does with taking humanitarian trips. hopefully we can do that someday with our kids :)

oh, and last thing, i like your list of preferred ngos. i obviously like choice, and am a fan of the tipping bucket as well.

Rosemary Campbell said...

I really like this a lot. A lot.