“…it does lead me to again think through sustainability and concepts of giving.“
I just returned from Haiti where I had the honor to walk through the market in Cabaret. If you have not been to a “market” in the developing world, you need to get on a plane and fly there now. However, since that is not very practical, you can get a feel for the market by watching this video that I took:
We at CPR-3 talk a lot about sustainability and if you have been following this blog, you will see that I have been struggling with that concept a ton over the last few weeks. I agree with the principles of “Toxic Charity” and “When Helping Hurts,” but I also know how my gut feels when I am in Haiti and see the needs all around me. The Holy Spirit is telling me something…I’m just trying to figure it all out.
While walking through the market, I saw a brand of shoes, a name that is recognizable to just about everyone, being sold there for a very cheap price. At first I thought, sweet! And then I thought more deeply about this. This shoe company is trying to be much more than a shoe company, they are trying to “do good.” That concept is built into their business model. In fact, if you buy a pair of shoes from this company, they promise to “give a pair away to someone in need around the world.” I love the concept and applaud them for the desire to do good. But at least in Haiti, I am not sure it is doing good. I thought the shoes were to be “free to someone in need.” If this is the case, then why do I see them being sold in the market for a cheap price, a price that is undercutting Haitian brands? Though I cannot answer the questions I have just posed, it does lead me to again think through sustainability and concepts of giving. Should we give free shoes or other items to people in Haiti that need to be brought in from the US or should we buy locally produced shoes in Haiti and give to those in need? Who is getting a hold of those shoes for “free” and then trying to sell them in the market?
I do not have answers, but I do have many questions. They cause me to stop and think about my “good intentions” and whether my intentions are seeing fruition the way that I had hoped? So the struggle continues…
As CPR-3, we are always evaluating and re-thinking how we can continue to be a leader in sustainable solutions and help others with both physical and spiritual needs. Have a comment? Let us know by commenting on this post on our Facebook page. You can also reach us at email@example.com.