I have been unable to contact the children’s home for several days. It tells me that they cannot be located, which is the message that is usual when the phone system is overloaded. So, I will give an incident from my visit.
I was walking around the market area with a couple of the locals, when in front of the Philippine National Bank, PNB, I saw a woman with two children begging. You could tell that there was a real need from just looking at the children especially. They had visible health problems.
The person that I was with told them, “Wala,” meaning not now. They knew that I was willing to give something small to help, but what they explained was that if I was to give something to this woman, I would likely be swarmed by others who were watching and they would want something also.
The person told me to give them what I wanted to give and they would get it to her in a safe way.
In other cases, giving or helping in an unplanned way can be detrimental. We have always worked from the viewpoint of providing ways to help them help themselves. There are many good resources to assist us in this goal.
Steve Saint, the former missionary and founder of http://www.itecusa.org/ has a very pointed discussion about the subject. To paraphrase an example he uses, the most critical non-spiritual need in Haiti is income. Why does it make sense for a group of people to travel from the USA to paint a school? The cost of the airfare is likely more than the cost of the school building and then it is taking work away from those who need it most.
Not only does it take away from needed work, but it also implies that they are unable to do the job without help.
Nazarene Missions tells about how a congregation in the USA built a church without considering ways to have the local congregation participate in ways that they felt that they had ownership of the project. When the roof needed some minor repair, the local congregation sent word to the church that had built it, “Your roof is leaking. When can you fix it?”
Even with the children’s home, there is little the children can do in return. However, we have always encouraged them to help others in the village when they can do so. Now they are anxious to tell who they have helped and how.
So, yes, helping can hurt if it is not done in a careful way. We give it our best effort to think through how we help to ensure that it is done to the best benefit possible and not in a certain way because, “That’s how we have always done it.”
You can keep up with the happenings at the children’s home in your Facebook feed by liking and following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/childrens.hope.90
You may also support the children’s home by going to the following link http://hopehomeandschool.com/index.php/support/
Also, if you share the Facebook postings when you find them interesting, it will help spread the word about our children.
If you would like to hear more about the children’s home, I am available to speak to your church, missions group, or other organization.