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Honduras Series Part 4: Charity vs. Solidarity

Charity is the voluntary giving of help to those in need. Often times it’s in the form of giving away money, food, or a service.

However, charity isn’t sustainable. You give someone money, they use it to buy food. Now what? How is that person going to get more money? Sure he can ask for more, but that means he’s depending solely on others for his survival.

Imagine if you give that person a job, empowering him to make his own money. That’s solidarity.

Charity gives the illusion of helping. It’s a bandage for a huge wound that’s just going to open up again.

Global Brigades’ holistic model isn’t about charity. It’s about creating a system to empower communities and create solidarity. It’s about giving communities the opportunity to help themselves through hard work and unity through a common mission.

It’s about giving people the tools to help themselves so that they no longer have to depend on others. They will improve their communities by engaging in the construction of the water system alongside students from the United States. They will take workshops about personal finance. They will earn about personal hygiene and basic health care. They will learn about the importance of education and why they’re children must go to school.

Global Brigades doesn’t go into a community, build a school and leave. Why? Well, who’s going to teach at the school? If you have teachers, who’s going to pay them? If you have teachers and they’re paid, well how do you get students to go to school? What if they don’t have transportation to school? What if they have to work to help their parents make money? Having a school isn’t the issue.

There’s so much more to consider when it comes to charity. Are those organizations really helping or are they feeding into a false sense of helping others?

Remember, helping isn’t easy. Whether that be through volunteer work, your job, getting an organization up on its feet, or even just helping a friend through a rough time, helping takes time and patience and understanding.

Are you giving a bandage or are you helping?