I really appreciate the conversation and I 100% agree that we should NOT pity people in Africa. In fact the organization I'm working with highlights the fact that the people in these communites are completely capable but they are lacking the same opportunity to resources that we have in other countries. We see our work as a COLLABORATION with the community leaders in these places. We do not walk into a community and presume we know the answer to their needs. Rather, we have a conversation and we listen to what they want to bring to their community. Together we create a plan on how to do so and how to make the projects sustainable for the longterm. We fundraise in the West because the funds are here. Our work is very grassroots and small. We are helping people to help themselves, one community at a time We highlight this message in the "Stop the Pity" campaing. Take a look: http://www.mamahope.org/unlock-potential/
Proactively addressing global issues is not pity. I simply choose to do some work in one of the places on the globe most in need because an educated and healthy world is critical to our long term success. Yes, we have problems here at home, but by comparison, Africa has less access to resources and the struggles are big. For example, Tanzania has 1 doctor for every 50,000 people. The worst state in the US (Mississippi) has 1:564. Tanzania has one teacher per 50 students. The US has 14.
Thanks again for offering your concerns. They are mine as well.
This is a good discussion. I agree: nobody needs to hear Americans arrogant preaching to the rest of the world when we need to get our own house in order. On the same level, the U.S. has contributed a lot of inventions, often discovered by inventors (or teams of inventors) who were immigrants to the this country; inventions that have helped other countries. But really the roots of all inventions are multicultural--multinational: if you're a fan of the old TV series Connections, where modern day technology is traced to its roots.
Engineers just by making themselves available to kids and communities can make a difference as you say. Kids need exposure to engineers and scientists (and other people who create: artists, writers) to see that there are options out there.
Education is a necessity, sure, but what also is a necessity is clean water and healthy food. You cannot expect sick children to live happy if they get education. The ticket out of poverty may be education, but it's not the ticket out of hunger.
Agreed, though I don't think Africa is this point of this story. Yes, the U.S. needs to step up its game in getting all our citizens a good education and positioned for good careers, in STEM fields or otherwise. We need to improve our infrastructure, etc. etc. The point here is I know there are engineers out there working in their spare time on projects that improve their communities and the lives of fellow citizens. I'd like to hear those stories. Africa isn't the focus here, although the author happens to be doing a project in Africa. (Apparently, the organization she's going through stresses community involvement -- the community makes the choice for what the goals are. I'm not sure about evangelism in the religious sense.)
U.S. has a ways to go. Many countries are in the same boat or worse off in some ways. The goal here is NOT to compare countries or continents but share problem solving stories and to give a shout out to engineers pitching in.
Instead of pitying Africa, that probably deserves a little bit more respect than that, you should mind you own country. USA is the country of inequalities and poverty. Some people cannot even afford a doctor, not to mention a dentist. And they are not exactly you typical bum. At least 20 millions of them. Unless you are a champion in a rewarding field, you ll struggle to get access to a correct university.
But you would have enough of one day to help africa? No seriously, african people deserve better than coca cola, hamburgers and ... evangelization.
Hi David! No, I have not been to Africa before but Mama Hope parnters with community leaders in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana and I have learned so much about their collaborations from the amazing people who run Mama Hope. It's the community leaders in these countries who are making change and building the educational systems but they do need financial input in order to achieve their goals, and that's where we come in! I've read profiles on some of the students who have already graduated from St. Timohty's who are eager to continue their education. And they dream big ... they want to be doctors, lawyers and engineers! As well, I've been in direct contat with the community leader for St. Timohty's school, James Nathanial, who started the school in 2003 and I understand from him how much the children love to go to school. I cannot wait to meet all of them in person and do my part in helping them to transform their community. Thank you for your input!
Erin, I am from Africa (Zimbabwe, a bit south of Tanzania). You don't say if you have been there before, but I think you will be impressed by the keenness of African kids to learn. This is a generalisation of course, but as there is little or no welfare in Africa, education is a ticket out of poverty. The cradle to grave welfare societies of the west don't give the same incentive, and in many ways they are poorer for it.