You’ll be familiar with the image of a starving child, squatting by a mud filled river filled with parasites, their only source of hydration, a haunting piano interlude playing in the background just to try pull even harder on your heartstrings. The camera gets close up to the suffering eyes of this child, to try to expose the sadness and the reality of their everyday life. Then comes the “just £2 per month will save a child’s life”, or “£3 per month will protect this endangered animal” commentary said in a very soft tone imitating sincerity. For years, this has been a lot of charities approach to persuade people to donate to their cause. This is the image charities wish to portray life in Africa is, or in the wild.
As of June 2015, there were 2048 charities within the UK that all fell within the £5,000,000 plus annual bracket. At the bare minimum of £5,000,000 multiplied by 2048 adds to over £10Billion generated just within the UK for a variety of causes that require charitable donations and fundraisers.
As there are a number of causes that are represented by charities, far too many to focus on at one time, so instead of generalising all charities, I would like to focus on one, if not the biggest, beneficiaries of charitable fundraising and donations. Africa.
Africa, one of the greatest landscapes to grace planet Earth, with its wealth of wildlife, lands that stretch for miles, accommodating the most scenic and breath-taking horizons bursting with flawless, natural beauty. Although this great continent is vast with its array of history, culture and well documented traditions, it has always been tainted with immense corruption and political dictatorship. A sinister undercurrent that is not widely reported and not an aspect of it we are exposed to much although it’s extremely relevant to what we should see of Africa.
What we do continuously see of it, is the poverty stricken, AIDS suffering, famine bedraggled country all through the advertisements of the charities that represent Africa. It is these images that are meant to persuade us to spare just £2 per month to help make the poverty just that little bit better. Apparently, instead of having to drink water they know can kill them, that £2 per month will give them clean water, or feed one child for a month. The miracle of £2 per month. Although it seems small, you must remember, that based on what we continuously see of Africa through the advertisements of charities, this is a country that is used to having nothing. So, on that basis, £2 per month is a lot.
That £2 per month just goes on top of the pile of over £500Billion that has been donated to Africa via direct aid. Although it is well documented that Africa has been in the grip of an unfathomable amount of debt, this aid was meant to have been issued directly to those children we see on those advertisements. It should have built clean water systems, wells, bought malaria nets, built hospitals, provided education for the unprivileged. Despite that colossal amount of money that has been given in aid to counter the poverty, it simply has not got any better. Why? Well we can only speculate. Maybe it’s the corrupt government or military that continues to hold the continent under the dictatorship of those that get rich from the poverty. Maybe it’s the people within the charities that are responsible for the money to be invested towards the intended means it was donated lining their own pockets. Maybe it’s just simple mismanagement of funds. Maybe it’s a mixture of the reprobates managing charities that work in cooperation with the African government, making each other rich whilst there’s an entire continent that starves in the wake of their excessive greed.
Much has been documented on the debt of Africa, yet not much is documented on who is responsible for the debt. Can the people lingering in a lifetime of poverty and famine as well as being so adept at surviving really be to blame for the infinite debt? Even in the midst of their debt, which is clearly the manufactured product of political figures, that aid was raised to provide clean water, to build schools etc. That’s what the advertisements tell us at least.
The continuous campaigns charities that represent countries suffering poverty use the same formula of appealing to our humanity as well as our guilt through the image of starvation and children for people to continue to fork out to fight poverty, which said attempts have been unfruitful thus far despite the fore-mentioned £500Billion overhaul. Now if I donated to such causes, I would personally feel prouder to see the image of a replenished community, thriving with clean water, thriving with crops providing food, providing education. To be provided with actual evidence of improvement. I’d be proud that poverty was abolished in even just one of the thousands of villages and towns that are scattered over Africa. I’d feel proud that if I saw this image on TV, it would be easy to persuade others to donate to show what £2 per month actually goes towards.
Whoever comes up with these campaigns divert the attention away from what is actually happening in Africa, what will continue to happen in Africa as well exposing the very hand of corruption that is eternally clamped around the handle of many charities. They, in essence, are trying to sell you a good deed. Something to make you feel good about yourself, something that appeals to your vanity because naturally you would love to help people in need. We see this every day on our TV yet never question HOW these advertisements end up on our TVs in the first place especially so often. As you can imagine, TV appeals are not cheap. So immediately, that £2 per month is not going towards the very cause they tell you it is on TV. All this money that has been donated yet there has been little to no improvement in the light of poverty.
It’s just such a shame that they stoop so low as to manipulate our emotions as humans through these superficial advertisements showing us the despair of others and that there is no end to their attempts.