Get perspective on giving humanitarian aid

I feel it is part of our responsibility as global citizens to deepen our understanding, ask questions and learn from past experiences.

To the editor:

It’s great to see a focus on global issues during Global Citizen Kelowna Week starting this Friday, Feb. 15. It’s great to encourage the idealism of our young people who want to change the world and eliminate poverty.

However, when I read that one of the main events—Transforming Lives through Education—focuses on “a way for any ordinary person to raise $10,000 in three hours,” I get a little uncomfortable. Though I’m certainly not against building schools in Africa and “changing lives,” I think the education, our education, needs to go a little deeper.

We are all aware that, in spite of the best intentions, humanitarian aid efforts can weaken local community structures, undermine sovereignty and end up supporting undemocratic and unaccountable institutions which make long term change more difficult. This is part of the story in Haiti and the parallel with indigenous people in Canada is striking.

As a part of the educational project of Global Citizen Week I invite everyone to come see the 53-minute 2012 documentary Haiti: Where did the Money Go? on Saturday night Feb. 16 at Okanagan College’s main Theatre at 7 p.m. A discussion and question period will follow the film with members of Haiti Solidarity BC who went to Haiti in 2012. Admission is free, a $5 donation is suggested.

I feel it is part of our responsibility as global citizens to deepen our understanding, ask questions and learn from past experiences.

This is the hope I have for Global Citizens Week

Mark Haley

volunteer,

worldfilmfestkelowna.net

 

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