We try to activate philanthropy where it is needed most in the world. For those of us who are global-minded, we might think about a starving child or a refugee camp. For those of us who are local-minded in the United States, we might wonder about a soup kitchen or a homeless person.
Of course we know there are many other needs, some seemingly less urgent but still important: a high school student who needs a computer to succeed, a teenager who needs a mentor to model positive values or be a sounding board, or a stray dog who needs medical care.
We can’t forget about these important but less urgent needs on the international front, either. We often dismiss certain developed countries as not needing attention.
But don’t they? Let’s take a look at some of these countries. Spain has an unemployment rate of 19.4 percent-and it’s expected to surpass 20 percent this year. Ireland has a 12.4 percent unemployment rate, with a Gross Domestic Product ranked 53rd in the world, showing their productivity and job possibilities are very low. They also depend on Britain for funding.
I was in Peru a few years ago, just one hour outside of the capital of Lima. I went in viewing Peru as a beautiful colonial country. Lima indeed represented this view: nineteenth-century cobblestone streets, a historic square, gorgeous bluffs where adventurers explored-all were beautifully apparent.
Yet one hour outside of Lima, the land looked like a hazy war zone. Most of the building materials were sandy concrete, crumbling and deteriorating. Rubble littered the streets, and rising dust filled the air with a tear-inducing, grey haze. Women, on average, have six children and are severely abused by their husbands. There are no shelters.
There are no food pantries. There are no jobs for women or job training. There is no way out.
We have a crisis here that few seem to recognize. And I believe that crisis also exists in other “developed” countries that need our help.
Someone out there needs a job to provide for his family. Someone needs a counselor to help her through a tough situation. We shouldn’t need genocide to spur our involvement. Let’s not overlook one single being. We can give or volunteer to help them.
Let’s remember, we all count.
Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. You can read her blog, Living and Giving.