Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recommended Books

It is so easy, I think, for organizations to get off track from their original mission and goals. It isn't always intentional, in fact I think most of the time it is unintentional as we are forced to work with what we have access to. Sadly, some become stuck in that never ending cycle of handouts and temporary fixes instead of re-evaluating and coming back to their original goal of working out long term solutions. Just during the short amount of time we have been in Guatemala I have seen how easy it could be to make multiple trips a year to poverty stricken countries and do nothing but distributions of meds, shoes, school supplies, etc. I am not saying that those things aren't needed, but what happens when things like toothpaste and antibacterial ointment run out and we aren't there to provide them with more? Does it really do any good to provide a child with pencils and notebooks for the school year when they don't have access to a pencil sharpener? And what good does that one bag of food REALLY do, other than giving them a holiday meal, filling their bellies for a week and reminding them that they are loved and not forgotten? As we work at finding long term solutions for poverty elimination in an effort to prevent children from becoming orphans in Pueblo Nuevo and beyond, we are learning how hard it is for those around us to understand why it is so important to focus on those long term solutions instead of focusing only on short term fixes that result in constant handouts that do more harm than good.

That leads me to two book recommendations...

I am currently reading The Poor Will Be Glad and recommend it to anyone that is considering beginning or partnering with a non-profit with a focus on poverty elimination. Whether you do not understand the impact that micro finance programs can have in developing countries or you want to learn more about how they work, this has some of the information you need. It has been an encouragement to me as we look at ways to establish such a program in Guatemala.

When Helping Hurts is a book I am recommending before I read it. I have been meaning to read it for a while and will start it when I am finished with The Poor Will Be Glad. It is highly recommended by others that have read it and I am anxious to get started.

This comes as I am sorting through thoughts that are leading to a blog post about the "new" UNICEF-Haiti news. We do not support UNICEF or anyone affiliated with them, but I know that I am in the miniority of adoptive parents in my thoughts on international adoption as a form of orphan opinion that has changed for me over the last few years. Of course, we believe in adoption as an option for children that are truly eligble, but we also believe international adoption is not the answer to the world's growing orphan crisis. Working to eliminiate poverty and in turn preventing orphans is. More on my thoughts about UNICEF and international adoption soon...

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