Sunday, August 9, 2009

The TV3 Telethon and the KidsCan Charity

I am confused by the mean spirited selfish attitude of many New Zealanders that I have heard over the past few days with reference to the KidsCan charity.

Firstly let me say that I am not an advocate for this charity, I have nothing to do with them, I have neither spoken to them, nor do I speak for them.

The idea that people should not support this charity, and/or telethon because parents should be looking after the kids themselves flies in that face of logic for supporting any charity.

The basic argument is that parents who send children to school are dirtbags who spend all their benefit on alcohol, dope and pokies. In other words this charity shouldn't exist as this need should be covered by the parents taking responsibility for their kids and themselves. At a basic level this argument is totally correct (although I don’t believe that all children that benefit from this charity would have that same back story) this charity shouldn’t exist, there shouldn’t be a need for it…but there is.

Three quick things…

If we take the line that we shouldn’t need to provide for these children, their parents should do it, then actually no charity should exist. Just as there shouldn’t be kids without shoes and breakfast, there also shouldn’t be children in 3rd world countries starving…there’s plenty or food to go around…but the kids are still there. There shouldn’t be people losing their sight but for a $25 procedure (in Australia for God’s sake) but there is. There shouldn’t be a gap in our healthcare system for kids with cancer…our public health system should cover everything needed…but there is. So World Vision, The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Child Cancer Fund all exist…they shouldn’t need to, but they do. If we take the attitude that we are not going to give because other’s “should be responsible”, then by definition, no charity should exist…or get our support.

Secondly, in all these examples, and other charities, we provide a temporary solution for the problem, not seek an answer for the issue…we step into the gap, hopefully temporarily, to make those hurting the most a bit more comfortable. In the case of KidsCan, if we try to teach the ‘deadbeat parents’ a lesson…it’s still the kids that get hurt. If you saw a hungry kid in the street, you'd give them your spare wouldn't ask to check his parents fridge to see if beer was there, you'd just go straight to the solution.

Finally, and this is more aimed at any charity, there is this argument that goes around that, “I’m not going to give because a third of what I give doesn’t go to the cause, it gets eaten up in administration”, I would pose these questions…how else are the kids in Rwanda going to get fed? How else are the doctors going to work on the man’s eye in Tibet? How is that girl who lives in South Auckland going to get the shoes? Have you been to Rwanda with a packed lunch recently? Are you off to the foothills of the Himalaya’s with some eye wash? Are you a regular visitor to Otara with boxes of Charlie Browns? No? Well someone’s got to do it, and those people operate better, and more efficiently when they have an office, and full time staff committed to the cause.

If you don’t want to support KidsCan…then don’t support it, but don’t try to justify the decision with silly illogical arguments but I would also encourage to support them, and other charities. It's good to give.

Michael Laws wrote a piece that stated “If you’re looking for charity don’t call me”, I would also suggest you shouldn’t call him if you are looking for compassion, logic, talent and good radio ratings…you will find him also a void on any of these topics as well.