Charity: A Form of Healing Humanity

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Charity: A Form of Healing Humanity

by Eimaan Shahid


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“Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.” Alice Hocker


You have probably heard it a thousand times: if you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in the fridge, be grateful. Living in North America, many of us have been so accustomed to these luxuries in our life that having our basic needs readily available to us does not require a second thought. But do we really appreciate all of the things we have in life? Our closets are full of clothes in every colour, the dining table is lined with food 3 times a day, purified water is accessible to us 24/7, 365 days a year. We have devices that give us access to information on every topic imaginable within a few taps of our fingers. We are accustomed to high-quality healthcare, air-conditioned homes, sewage/sanitary systems, and sidewalks in our neighbourhoods.  Simply having three simple things, food, clothing, and shelter, makes us wealthier than 75% of the entire human population.  We complain about going to school every day while 264 million and counting children would do everything to be in our position. We all have so much, yet it still is not enough. For many, money and wealth no longer become a form of exchange, but rather the sole purpose of their lives. These individuals get a high off of materialistic items, luxury cars, and high-end jewelry. But as we make our way through life, we have to ask ourselves, is it truly worth it? Will your 500-acre property provide anyone else comfort, other than yourself? Eventually, you will depart this Earth and all of the possessions you had here behind, so what kind of legacy do you want to leave?  


While we are here living in complete comfort, many people across the world, and even within our own communities, do not share the same stories. Many developing countries are stuck in an infinite loop of socio-economic debt as well as a low quality of education, no urban planning and a deeply flawed healthcare system. Corruption at the highest levels of society and government thrive in these nations and leave no room for citizens to build a future for themselves. 


“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die” – Jean-Paul Sartre


Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya are all nations that have been destroyed by civil unrest and the cost is ultimately paid by the citizens. Syria, once a spectacle for tourism and culture, now has 80% of their population living in extreme poverty. By 2022, if the ravaging war continues, Yemen will rank as the poorest country in the world. This endless cycle of government negligence, war, debt, and lack of education leaves no room for opportunities and leaves generations upon generations of families hopeless for a better, more promising future.  


Recognizing our privilege and counting our blessings comes with the responsibility of taking proactive measures to help those less fortunate than us. We have all that we could ever ask for and more, so why not use the resources we have to help those that truly need it the most? Charity is the voluntary act of helping those in need. Although the average person does not have the resources to create a large organization that tackles global issues, we can all do small things that collectively make a large impact. Many people have this perception that charity is simply donating money, but charity can be many other things besides a number. Volunteering, donating blood, distributing care packages, attending protests, emailing national government officials, spreading awareness, and even something as simple as a smile can all be considered charity. The more you give, the bigger the difference you are making in the lives of other people. Giving provides a sense of fulfillment within yourself and is proven to help improve your mood.


We could all spend our money on ourselves and make our life as comfortable as possible.  But how can we live so comfortably without taking action knowing others don’t have a roof over their head? How can we eat until you need to unbutton your jeans because you are so full when there are families in Yemen eating nothing but leaves? How can we continue to allow our governments to continue investing money into cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco industries when they could use that money to save human lives? There is nothing wrong with living a comfortable lifestyle, as long as we are actively advocating for change, and helping those that need it the most. Charity may be a voluntary act, but it is also a global call for justice.


“No one has ever gone poor by giving, so why are you reluctant to give?” – Anne Frank 


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