Serving your community

Humans are not that well-developed as a species. Our genus ‘Homo’ appeared about 1.8 million years ago but agriculture only developed about ten thousand years ago. So, our instinct of self-preservation is far more developed than communal work. Charitable organisations seem to be asking us to push this instinct aside and give ‘selflessly’ to something from which we may not see anything returned. Is that really fair of them?

Of course it is! But not for the reason you may be thinking of right now (which I assume is ‘as humans we are now intellectually developed enough to see beyond self-preservation and/or it is the right thing to do to help others’).

No, the reason it is fair is because it is much easier to call on a human’s natural instinct of selflessness than to explain in great economic detail why ‘charity’ is beneficial mostly to ourselves.

Community service is not about helping ‘others’: it is about doing a service to the community you belong to. Yes, humans are certainly developed beyond that initial instinct of self-preservation and hence we work in communities but it is still hard for people to understand why a farmer’s child with no secondary education could affect our wallets.

When that child grows up and farms the same way his forefathers did then our agriculture stays stuck in the same 1940s rut it began in. Then, to deal with the increasing population to feed we increase tax to allot more money for food importation. Guess where that tax money comes from?

When I first learnt that we imported rice to feed our populace I wanted to scream: we use pictures of our ‘abundant, lush paddy-fields’ as a tourism mark and we cannot even feed ourselves! By giving those children the right to an education, donating books, volunteering time to teach them yourself, by helping those areas develop and providing their parents with the resources to improve their livelihoods, we are ensuring that we protect ourselves from economic downfall.

If we realise just how sharply the fate of our fellow countrymen is linked to our own day-to-day lives each and every one of us would throw out our excessive indulgence and dedicate the time we always say we do not have to community service.

So now you know what those sneaky little charities have really been doing: by calling on our ‘selflessness’ they have tried to make us feel good about ourselves when all they wanted was the selfish target of total community upliftment! How sneaky! But really, enough with my sarcasm: get out there and help yourself...by helping someone else.

For those of you who want to do something but feel like you have limited time and resources then what you need is an organisation that can help you find a cause you actually have time to help. To contact stitch email ivolunteer@stitchmovement.com or visit our website www.stitchmovement.com.

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