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2 December, 2004

Heal thyself

Last week I discovered The Literacy Site, a 'click to donate' site of the same style as The Breast Cancer Site and The Hunger Site.  A server problem prevented my access to the 'About Us' page, but it seemed a good cause, so I mentioned it in the blog anyway.  I then went on to make more general points about the types of charities I do, and don't, support.

According to precisely those criteria, I no longer support The Literacy Site.

I had presumed that each visitor's click contributes towards distributing books in developing nations, but they go to children in the USA instead. I obviously don't have a problem with US children, but as I said last week, I won't donate to charities performing tasks I regard as the responsibility of the state.

In developing nations, governments may struggle to provide even the fundamentals of clean water, sufficient food and a stable infrastructure, so they need all the help they can get for 'secondary' factors such as literacy.
If there are illiterate children in the USA, that is a failing of the education system and government, which should take full responsibility for financing and providing adequate measures. It shouldn't be a charity issue.

If the private sector covers gaps in state provision, the state simply gets away with it, and the gaps progressively grow. Don't apply sticking plasters at your own expense. Challenge the cause of the injury.

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