You know I love charity. But there are some things about ‘giving’ that irk me. Like when the dignity part gets left out. I’ve talked about that before, that dignity is key to the whole process. Without it, charity becomes something we don’t really want it to be.

There’s something else that gets under my skin: when an organization ‘saves’ a group of people while selling them on an idea/religion/philosophy. I understand that it’s often these things from which we draw our values of giving, but I don’t think it’s justifiable to impose our own thoughts on to someone else. Ever. And when it happens in charity, when people are at their most vulnerable, it really bothers me.

I almost published a blog about a charity last year and then ended up deleting it when I took a closer look at what exactly was happening. There was a heavy overtone of ‘read this holy book, believe in this person while I give your children these culturally inappropriate toys.’ I couldn’t help them spread awareness for their work, even though I know they are doing it with the best intentions, because it totally didn’t jive with my values.

It wasn’t the religion I had a problem with. It was how it was being used.

So, get to know who you are. Understand your own values and form your own philosophies about charity…and then don’t let anyone or anything compromise that.

By all means, give! But give in a way that makes you and the recipient feel dignified and fulfilled.

taslim jaffer, let me out creative