How poor and destitute do we want people to be?

Diane and I began sponsoring a 5 year old boy in Tanzania 14 years ago and have watched him become a young man.  He will be leaving the Compassion International sponsorship program soon.  A year ago we began sponsoring a second young boy who lives in Ghana, but will only have two for a short time until Joshua in Tanzania graduates and becomes too old for the program.

Compassion sent out an interesting Facebook question yesterday.  They wanted to know if, as a sponsor, we would think that our sponsor child having access to the internet and a Facebook account would give us the impression that the child’s situation was not as bad as it really is.  In other words, if the school that our money pays for our child to attend would get computers and internet access allowing the kids in Tanzania, Ghana, and elsewhere to  get on Facebook, would we quit sponsoring them because we’d have the attitude that they’re not that poor?

Diane and I have been to Ghana.  We were surprised that nobody had running water, but many people (not most people, but many) had cell phones.  But if you think about it, it’s pretty simple for a company to put up a cell phone tower.  It’s much more difficult and costly to bury water lines and run them in homes to give people running water.

It would not be much (if any) expense for the Compassion centers to allow kids on the computers.  I’m guessing most of Compassion’s centers already have computers and internet.  It’s not like they would be giving every kid their own laptop to take home.

It’s an interesting question.  We have the same questions as we help people here in our own communities.  Do we look at people who have internet on their cell phones as needing less help?  People who have and smoke cigarettes?  The bottom line is, “How poor and destitute do we expect people to be before they deserve our help?”

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