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To think that charity begins at home?

(65 Posts)
HappyOrchid Thu 11-Oct-12 23:54:40

With all the cuts to various benefits and changing the inflation measures to give lower increases to those on fixed incomes what right does the Government have to ring fence and in fact increase foreign aid?

If I have a couple of quid to spare I will donate it to charity. When things are tight I spend it on fripperies like food and utility bills.

Call me Dave went to USA last week and increased committment to foreign aid to approx £7 BILLION, when the Govt. is trying to cut benefits for citizens of its iwn country by £10bn.

Is it worng to say 'Sorry, but we have to sort out our own economy first'. I know many countries are in poverty, but isn't it the responsibility of their governements to sort it out?
If people feel strongly about charity donations couldn't they make their own.

Loobylou222 Thu 11-Oct-12 23:56:28

YANBU charity begins at home.

lisad123 Fri 12-Oct-12 00:00:01

I'm not so sure tbh. I get that we need to save £xx but these countries we are bailing out I'm pretty sure they are past the point that most "poor" are in the UK.

MortenHasNiceShirts Fri 12-Oct-12 00:02:02

Surely the point of poverty is that the governments in those countries generally can't sort it out? I've never really understood the saying 'charity begins at home' - what's the difference to you between helping some people you've never met in Britain and helping some people you've never met in Africa?

GrimmaTheNome Fri 12-Oct-12 00:02:21

Some foreign aid is enlightened self-interest.

Toombs Fri 12-Oct-12 00:03:14

All aid is poisonous, we pay to feed a nation so their "leaders" can spend on war and themselves. Anyone know of a poor African Leader?


The aid is mostly taken up in admin and then goes to the corrupt governments of these countries.

Very little gets through to those who need it.

And yes, charity should begin at home.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 12-Oct-12 00:04:35

So, by the same logic, the rich people in the UK or Tory wankers who earn millions should all spend their charity money on the National Trust and Museums. You know, their stuff. Not poor children or food banks or women's shelters. After all, charity begins at home.

My theory, charity begins everywhere. If you can't give money, give time. If you can't give time, at least have a good and kind heart.

Brycie Fri 12-Oct-12 00:05:43

Aid to some countries is getting better in terms of oversight toombs. I don't know why there's the fixed commitment, it seems very strong. I wouldn't like to see all aid programmes stopped however.

Morten, a lot of countries coudl do a lot more - Kenya for example should be pretty booming and not need as much aid but it's really been run into the ground by corruption.

HappyOrchid Fri 12-Oct-12 00:05:56

But when so much of the aid given is proven to be filtered off to govt. cronies or militants or in the case of one nation where we give several million in aid that now has its own space programme and described the aid as unnecessary surely it should be reviewed.

I realise that poverty in the third world really is poverry and not just not being able to afford to keep up with the Joneses, but there are families here that are really struggling and make a contribution to our society, thereby increasing UK overall wealth. Surely they deserve our help first.

Brycie Fri 12-Oct-12 00:07:37

There's a saying, aid is poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries. There's something to that. And there is a whole indutry of "tenderpreneurs" attached to the aid market in receiving countries. But a lot of aid programmes now are much more direct, losing several layers of middle men, in order to cut that out. That's what's been reported anyhow.

Toombs Fri 12-Oct-12 00:08:14

Foreign aid has caused more misery overseas than any other cause, it wrecks the local economy and allows local leaders to ignore their people. We provided millions of mosquito nets once, it killed the local manufacturers of the nets and made them supplicants. The Rwandan massacres were committed by machetes mostly supplied by a Blue Peter appeal.

MortenHasNiceShirts Fri 12-Oct-12 00:08:30

But we're talking about people in other countries who might actually die without foreign aid. Which is not quite the case in Britain.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 12-Oct-12 00:10:26

I find myself able to volunteer where I live. i can't volunteer in Africa so all I can do is give aid. I like Kiva BTW if you like the idea of helping people help themselves. I have worked in many shelters over Christmas and all that, shaken tins and marched. i can't do that in Africa so why not help financially.

And, the flow of money has always been more complicated than one way. They have debt to us, we give aid, they give contracts to UK firms...

Devora Fri 12-Oct-12 00:10:46

I think that saying gets really misused. My understanding is that it meant charity begins at home - not that it ends there.

HappyOrchid Fri 12-Oct-12 00:12:44

MrsTerry The idea that we give aid and they buy from UK got slammed with Indias recent decision to source aeroplanes and military hardware (proll with our aid money) from other countries, namely France rather than the UK & basically told is to piss off. But still no cut in the money they hold their hand out for.

HappyOrchid Fri 12-Oct-12 00:15:03

Devora Agreed charity can spread further when there are sufficient funds to do it, but if you cannot afford your own bills, then that is not the time to give money away.

but if you cannot afford your own bills, then that is not the time to give money away.


MrsTerryPratchett Fri 12-Oct-12 00:18:46

the money they hold their hand out for that sounds quite angry. I actually don't like aid tied to contracts so I think, good for India.

I do think that aid has been a really bad idea in the past. Food aid is particularly badly used, administered and it hurts the local economies. However, I spoke to a very intelligent and wonderful young woman the other day from Botswana who was talking about a new contract between the majority and minority worlds. She feels that they still need some financial aid but most of all they need leadership. That is the hard part. I think that is what we need too though. Less self-serving shysters and more altruistic leaders.

Brycie Fri 12-Oct-12 00:23:26

It's very tough and I am attending to what wannabedomestic is saying here.

On the idea of leadership: this is the other problem with aid, it's tied up with the colonial legacy. How much do we judge, how much do we change? What about funding women's rights groups? They can do so much to improve local economies but it means subtly altering the local culture. Are we right to do this? And so on and so forth.

saffronwblue Fri 12-Oct-12 00:24:47

I think we are all on this planet together and our futures are all interconnected. Having vast pockets of poverty with little rich oases between is not going to make any of us safer or happier in the long run.

Of course the whole aid process is imperfect but the spotlight of accountability is increasing all the time. I would rather donate and know that a percentage will get there than not donate. Nothing else in this world functions without administration, so why should aid orgnisations be above needing admin?

Toombs Fri 12-Oct-12 00:27:31

The problem is, when you donate and the little bit gets there but the rest buys guns and pain and suffering.

Brycie Fri 12-Oct-12 00:28:33

I think that's hyperbole Toombs. It's not as bad as that.

Toombs Fri 12-Oct-12 00:36:29

Really? How many guns do you want to buy per person saved?

It really is that bad. Aid is big business, I was in Kenya and there were more NGO's than there were victims, all with big Toyota 4X4 and Ipod chargers, all looking for victims. The Kenyan government even fudged their census to get more money. 99p out of a pound does not get to anyone in need.

Want2bSupermum Fri 12-Oct-12 00:38:28

HappyOrchid and MrsTP I think the decision to go with the French was because of the issues with saudi contracts. It didn't go down well that the British media went after BAE for their backhanders. While in the UK it isn't acceptable to give backhanders, it is the way of doing business in other countries. These countries who are spending billions on a contract don't appreciate being talked down to. The French continue to give back handers and have a healthy defence industry because of it.

With that I am not saying that giving backhanders is good or a nice way of doing business. It isn't but I respect the fact that different cultures do things differently and don't want to be dragged into the media.

Back to the OP - charity should begin at home. We donate every year and 50% of the amount we donate goes to the town next door to us. Newark, NJ has many improverished inhabitants so we donate money and items such as toys to the childcare center. I also believe that charity begins at home. When my cousins child was sick they had medical bills that were hundreds of thousands (they live in Canada). My dad paid the bills because that is what you do when you have the resources available to you and can see your family in need.

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