Saturday, March 22, 2008

On October 25, 2007, Chadian authorities arrested members of an aid group as they tried to kidnap 103 children (aged between one and ten years) that the charity described as Darfur orphans it wanted to take to safety in France. The children were bandaged up to make them look injured and the group’s members claimed they were driven by compassion to help orphans in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur province, which borders Chad. However investigations showed most of the children had at least one parent or close adult relative.

Outside Chad, the charity launched an Internet appeal in April 2007 for help and host families for an ”operation to evacuate orphan children from Darfur.”

Assuming for the moment, that this was a misguided and overzealous though well-intentioned incident, acts like these not only open the doors for those with nefarious purposes in mind but also intensify suspicions about the goodwill of humanitarian workers.

Quite frankly, we have good reason to ask whether the charities we support are worthy of our trust.

I have been associated with several different charities in my lifetime. All of them provided services for people in need with very little money. Many did not even have paid staff but were run totally by volunteers who gave their time as well as their money. These charities provided services which are vital to certain segments of our communities where government services were no longer available. This is particularly true of services for children in jeopardy.

It pays to investigate a charity before you support it. One of the best ways to discover which charities are legitimately providing needed services at the least possible cost is by volunteering yourself for that charity. Your time is probably as important for that charity as the money you could donate. You put a face to an issue and you help your community to see where they need to pick up the slack. So, before you decide that donating to any charity is a waste of money, think about volunteering to help out. Furthermore investigate. If something is not right about a charity, say so. There are a lot of vulnerable people especially children out there who need the help that trustworthy charities provide.

A little research can go a long way in helping you decide what charity to support. If the charity cannot answer your questions or will not willingly provide information about its projects then you should be cautious about supporting it. Do not assume that because the name is familiar or the charity is big that your money is being used wisely. There are a lot of small charities doing good work and making a difference and your donations will be appreciated and valued there.

Of course there are organizations who abuse the system and they seem to be the ones that get most of the attention from media sources while the good organizations quietly work behind the scenes towards accomplishing the mission to which they have been called. They continue, year in and year out, to make a difference. The only reason these organizations survive is because of the generosity of many people who care enough to help them accomplish their mission.

In spite of all the reports of fake charities scamming people and taking advantage of the vulnerable, one should not give up on charities because there are wonderful stories out there of love, hope and change.

Bunmi Awoyinfa,
Bunmi Awoyinfa, EzineArticles.com Basic Author

HOM is actively involved in various social activities including outreach to street children, child beggars and child scavengers; provision of free meals, free clothing and health care services for needy children; school sponsorship for child beggars and family-based residential homes for girls and boys at risk. - See more at: http://www.mycharitypage.com/houseofmercychildrenshome#sthash.vSlncxpz.dpuf
House of Mercy Children’s Home Lagos, Nigeria (HOM) is actively involved in various charitable activities including outreach to street children, child beggars and child scavengers; provision of free meals, free clothing and health care services for needy children; school sponsorship for child beggars and family-based residential homes for girls and boys at risk. We receive no funding but rely on voluntary donations and fundraising to support our work: in turn we give it all as a gift to the children. www.homchildrenshome.org
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