The Age old Feud

givinghandsglow“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa

I am working in the non-profit sector for over a year now. I work for some charities in both India and the USA. So I tend to bring it up when I meet people. I am always curious about what other think and what paradigms they have. I see some starkly contrasting views regarding Giving. Whether giving to the charity is better or helping directly is the best way to help.

In one such conversation with my school friend, she told me–

“I am typical. I don’t find joy in giving away money to some organization. As a 22-year-old with a decent job, I have money but I am not rich. I CAN donate but I have to sacrifice something I need to do that. Its tough. I always have two options-

1. I can go to one of the local Non-Government Organization and donate some money. It is an NGO, which is actually doing some work. I can see the difference they have brought in with their work. People are helped and the staff there is dedicated and honest.

2. I can buy some food, take some clothes, some money and give them directly to the destitute. I can give whatever I want. I can buy them utensils, I can give them my old clothes and I can provide them with some financial assistance.

Frankly, I find joy in the second option. I can see the smile on the face of the beneficiary. They bless me and I feel blissful. I have the assurance that my hard-earned money reached the needy directly and that I didn’t lose that smile of receiving. I am happy.

The bigger an organization, the bigger is the percentage that they keep for running that organization. The salaries, the marketing costs, administrative costs, etc. I don’t want to pay for all that when I can help directly. I don’t have the confirmation that my money is used wisely. There are scams and I don’t my money to be a part of it”

I agree to some of the points but I don’t agree completely. This is a debated topic and the views are interesting. The conversation above disturbed me, so I was basically not helping the poor but earning money. That’s what it all came down to for ‘her’.

I talked to my uncle about it who cleared my doubts. He told me-ORD3

“So your friend, where does she live? In New Delhi? Ask her if she is willing to Afghanistan to help the people there like some NGO’s are. If Afghanistan is too far then ask her if she is willing to go to the flood destructed state of Uttrakhand to rescue people and give them food. I am sure she wont step up to endanger her life.

The NGO’s risk their lives to help people. They work day and night to provide the basic amenities to the remote corners of the world. They give food to people who are dying. Set up relief camps and dedicate their lives to strangers in need. They feed, they educate and they are first ones to leave their home when a disaster strikes while we sit inside and watch the News Channels.

It is easy to sit back and pass judgement. I agree that there are scams, there are frauds and there are many such things which are out of our hands. But is that reason enough to stop helping those who are actually helping people?
If we can’t give money, we can give our time. It should come from in here (points to his heart).

If they don’t get paid then what will they eat? How will they run their family? The marketing cost? I don’t want my charity to depend solely on my donation. I want them to progress further and find new sources of support. I donate to some charities and they send me reports of what they are accomplishing with my help and trust me I am happy.”

I still have my own perceptions. My own insecurities as a person working for a charity. But the world always has two types of people and sadly right now, I am standing in the middle with no definite decision in mind.

I only know that the joy of Giving is much more than the joy of Receiving and it doesn’t matter what everyone says, Helder Camara puts it so aptly–

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”


boyThe tree branches were drooping with the weight of the spring flowers. Ram sat beneath the cool shade of the tree. He was chanting under his breath. He had been waiting for this day for quite some time now. Even though his impatience grew every second, he couldn’t bring himself to go there. Just when he was contemplating, he heard a distant shout of his father. Heart thumping like never before, he jumped to his feet and ran towards him.

His father was running too and as they met, Ram’s father embraced his son tightly. Tears were leaking down his face and he couldn’t stop smiling. Ram was fraught with confusion and wanted the mystery to end. Seeing this, his father informed him-“You got selected, 4 days from now a new life awaits you!!!”

Ram couldn’t believe this. Being born and brought up in a small city, his life had seen more dreams than reality. He couldn’t control his tears, much to his embarrassment and cried too. He then ran to his mother who was surrounded by the ladies from the neighborhood. All were beaming with pride, nobody had ever before cracked an engineering entrance exam in their district and Ram was the very first from their small city.

After exchange of greetings and gifts, Ram began preparing for his new life ahead. His parents bought him everything he demanded. He wasn’t used to this attention. Everyone greeted him with a smile, the shopkeepers gave away free stuff to him. Life couldn’t be better for him. He left for his college next day.

source: spiritualityhealth.comHis hostel was close to a luxury for him. He was allotted a room and soon began interacting with the other boys. The day melted into night and then came the much dreaded part of their college life. The seniors came to the fresher’s hostel and bullied all the 1st year students. Ram being the shy one, stood in a corner and didn’t move. One of the senior boys came to him and asked to strip his clothes. Ram was offended and gave a ‘NO’ for an answer. That boy got angry and called the rest of them to help him.

The nightmare began; they forcefully stripped off Ram of all his clothes. They started laughing and took away all his clothes. Ram fled to his room crying. He felt the world fall apart in front of him. He couldn’t bear the pain. His roommate consoled him and told him to calm down.

The next day went fairly well for Ram, he liked his new teachers and his teachers were impressed with his knowledge too. Forgetting about last night he headed towards his hostel only to be greeted by his seniors near his dorm door with a huge pile of clothes. They told him to wash all the clothes and not sleep that night. Ram had no way out, he couldn’t inform hi parents about it as he didn’t want them to be troubled. His classmates had warned him of dire consequences if he complained about those seniors to the college authority.

boyThe torture didn’t end that night. They made him sit on a hot plate, kicked him taking turns, took all his money away and tortured him each night. He was fast losing his interest in college and started locking himself up in his room. Everyone tried to help him, but with in vain. He was suffering from chronic depression. Now he obediently did what his seniors asked from him. Only inside he was dying every second.

It was the night of the college fest. The hostel was empty, the seniors were away celebrating. Everyone returned with a lot of energy and good mood, the fest was a huge success.

Ram’s roommate was singing a song when he opened his room and yelled out in terror. The whole hostel came to see what happened. Ram was hanging by his neck from the ceiling fan. He was dead. Nobody could believe this, they called the college authority and his parents were called.

Ram’s mother went mad. She couldn’t bear the shock of this incidence. His father was very calm. He tried to question the students, but nobody helped him. They didn’t want the same things repeated to them.

Ram’s father was a courageous man. He filed a case against those seniors with the help of a couple of students who helped him secretly.  He went to the court every day. Hired the best lawyer, ate less, but gave the lawyer his fees. 11 months went like this. Ram’s father was seeing it go nowhere. He was lost, he had no money and the case was losing its momentum in the court. Repetitive court dates, all with same results.

The day of the verdict came. Ram’s father was shaking with anger; he couldn’t let the murderers of his son be free. But he couldn’t do anything either.

Then the golden moment came, 10 students, Ram’s friends agreed to appear in court and testify against those seniors. Ram’s father couldn’t stop crying. He called them to the court and they testified.

The senior students were sent to jail. Ram finally got the justice he deserved.

His mother was improving and after hearing the news, she started showing signs of drastic improvement. Although he lost his only child, Ram’s father pledged to open a school on his son’s name and make every child competent enough to study further. He made this his new goal in life and worked towards achieving it.hope