I come from the poorest province in South Africa. You are faced with poverty every day – starving animals, people in dire need, 60% unemployment. The scope of the problems can be overwhelming and paralyse you if you want to help. Where do I start? I can’t help everyone! How do I choose? And if I choose A, then I am letting everyone else down!
I have never had a large income, but most of my disposable income has always gone to charity. I generally don’t donate to large charities, favouring grass-roots initiatives instead. I sponsor the schooling costs of two South African children through school and university (I know the children), and I foster-sponsor kittens and dogs via two Cape Town charities run by people I know.
I know many people would say ‘what about all those you cannot save?’ By choosing these people, you are ignoring others!’ but I realised long ago that I cannot save everyone. Instead I concentrate on those I can save, and hope that those around me also do what they can. If I ever become despondent and depressed about how little I am able to help, I always think of the starfish story.