Because I believe it is OK to be poor, it infuriates me when we crush the dignity of poor people.
Taking pictures of you handing a bag of rice to a poor woman and her naked children must stop in 2017.
Beauty queens should stop trying to send “poor kids to school” as their pet projects.
Stop providing cartons of noodles to poor families with your cameras rolling.
Stop making the poor your photo op to get funds from UN.
Stop visiting poor communities to preach on prosperity and how God can heal them of poverty by displaying your, err, god-given wealth. Don’t drive into a community with your aboki-washed saloon car and your starched shirt, feeling like a one-eyed king about to “help the needy”. Stop it.
Stop trying to fit in poor people into your little pretentious corporate goals.
What we do to the poor is worse than poverty itself. We take away their dignity, their pride; their right to be worthy of respect. We invade their privacy.
If people do not work as hard as you, or see as far as you, or aspire as great as you, or approach opportunities as quickly as you, they may end up poor. And that is not a bad thing. It’s just a social/economic status. We will always have the poor.
However, what is wrong is regular people taking advantage of the poor to upgrade their résumé. What is wrong is taking away their dignity; allowing their self-worth play a little role in your grand scheme of philanthropy.
Of course, the indigent doesn’t mind your theatrics to score cheap charity goals with their pride on the line, because lack is myopic. However, you should know better and preserve the integrity of the poor.
Don’t make their children your annual feel-good project. Do you not see how demeaning these things are? The poor are not created to make you feel good about your altruistic goals. They are human beings. Let them be. It is only a responsible government that can truly tackle and win against poverty. We don’t have one, so our job must be to protect the dignity of the poor around us by allowing them be poor in peace without the need to make them out to be God’s abandoned project. Stop it.
Keep your kitschy souvenirs for the poor away from the click of your FB Live button.
I would rather preserve a man’s dignity than hand him a hundred naira for the aim of capturing “good moment” with a good soundtrack to speak on a lesson of “loving your neighbour”. That’s not love. That’s a YouTube moment or a social media “aww” break.
Your method of giving, by itself, is not bad. It is the message that follows that suggests you are, in some ways, doing this out of concern that must be crushed and spat out in 2018.