Monday, December 12, 2011

It ain't tricking if it'

It ain't tricking if you got it...
It ain't tricking if it's charity...
(It ain't charity if it's tricking.)
I was up late last night, as I commonly am. I love watching my trash TV late at night so my half-wife doesn't have to witness my IQ lowering . Last night my guilty pleasure was Project Accessory. Admittedly, I love all of the shows in the "Project" series. I watch Project Runway religiously, as well as Work of Art, the one devoted to traditional art. The creator and competitor in me enjoys seeing artists pursuing their dreams and being rewarded for it. So anyway, I was knee deep in belts, shoes, and cuffs when Kenneth Cole (a guest judge) made a statement that annoyed me. Ok, I am getting a little ahead of myself let me back up to what the challenge was. So the show is about making accessories, and last night the designers were asked to create accessories specifically to accompany Kenneth Cole's new Fall line. The winner's pairing would be sold alongside Kenneth's design and the proceeds of the sales were going to go to AIDS awareness (how original?).  This is what annoyed me.  I was so annoyed that I almost stopped watching the show. And no I wasn't annoyed for the obvious reasons,  like because everybody jumps on the bandwagon to support whatever charity is most popular right now....just because it's popular, or because I'm tired of the poor and sick being exploited.

I was annoyed because, I am kind of over the whole it ain't tricking if it's charity sentiment that is beginning to permeate today's philanthropic culture. Some of you may not know this, but the majority of my professional career was spent in nonprofit organizations. In each role at each organization there was a portion of my job that related to bringing in more money. They call it development, but it really means..."make us some money so we don't have to cancel these programs." As such, I had to deal with quite of few of these new donors and it left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Gone are the days when people gave money just for the sake of giving money. Now they do it for a tax break, or to gain media support, or the advance their likability and therefore profit margins. They do it because it's cute not because it's needed. Which is more, many of these rock star donors see their donation as a trade off of sorts and oftentimes ask for something in return. Ever wonder why all the museums, streets, charitable 5ks and so on are named for people. Yep that's why. Give enough money to specific charity and they will name something after you- just so the whole world can forever know how nice and kind you are. *gag*
I was further annoyed because to me, these charitable donations are really just recycled money. Meaning it's the same money they earned selling expensive crap (and ideas) to you and they want to give it to the poor. Not to mention that in doing so ( being so generous, I mean), they become larger than life.  Because not only can they make a sick stiletto or a club banger, but they are also "good people." And you know how consumers feel about good people, we eat them up. So we go buy more shit from them.  As if this couple of million they give away a year even comes close to the quardrillion they make in sales. Blah.
Hmmmm... now that I am looking at this and reading it, I can understand how some of you are guys are  probably thinking , how can I be mad at someone giving away money. Yea...I know it seems ridiculous, but it's my blog and that's how I felt last night dammit. Maybe, I read too much into it, but you know what I read a lot into everything. I love to's like a hobby. Realistically, I guess I'm mad because I think there are tons of good people in the world who aren't able to donate to the causes we they love because we have little to no disposable income.  We spend all our money on bills and necessities, so even if our hearts are in the right place our lack of "racks" prohibits us from doing anything about it financially. Sure, we could volunteer but for most, time is even more scarce than money.  Anyway, I am always telling people to dare to dream so  I thought I would take my own advice and a dream a little about what causes I would give to IF I was a high powered "trick" with bags o' cash.
Initially, I wanted to include a list of like 5 charities, but on second thought there is one in particular that really speaks to me. A little information about that charity is below.

Dream Gift Amount: $193 Quadrillion dollars

This summer, I watched a documentary called "The Bride was Seven" on Oxygen. The  film was about child brides in Ethiopia. Some of the girls interviewed were married as young as 4 and others admitted to being sexually active with their husbands by the age of 9. I should mention that said husbands were anywhere from 21 to 60!  The documentary went on to explain that the true danger of child marriage was not the marriage per se or the very obvious statutory rape that is involved, but prepubescent pregnancy. When these young girls become pregnant and give birth, oftentimes at home, unassisted and for durations of up to 5 days, many of them become stricken with a condition called obstetric fistula. 

v  Obstetric Fistula (vesico–vaginal or rectal–vaginal fistula) occurs as a result of prolonged, obstructed and unassisted labor which can last for five days or more.  The continuous pressure of the baby’s head inside the mother causes a loss of circulation to part of the bladder tissue and sometimes the rectal wall. The tissue dies and drops out, leaving a hole. As a result the mother is left incontinent of urine and in 20% of cases incontinent of bowel contents as well.
Due to the smell associated with this condition, young women who are stricken with it often become outcasts to both their rapist husbands and their families. The good thing is that, although 2 to 3 million women in developing countries are living with obstetricfistula, it is treatable and preventable. For over 30 years, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has been the authority on fistula treatment in Ethiopia. In fact, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is the only hospital in the world that is dedicated exclusively to obstetric fistula.  In addition to the main hospital there are also five mini hospitals affiliated with this organization. What's even more impressive is that the Hamlin Fistula Relief and Aid Fund (which funds the hospital) is entirely dependent on donations from overseas to continue for support. For this and all the other reasons listed above....IF I had a bunch of money I would give it to Dr. Catherine Hamlin and the women of Ethiopia.
I am attracted to this cause because, I have profound sympathy for these young girls. Can you imagine, being forced into a marriage before you are even 5, then repeatedly raped, only to become pregnant and then be discarded by the very person who just HAD to have you in the first place. It's unconscionable to me. I definitely hate AIDS and cancer as much as the next person, but in the back of my mind, I feel like some of the terrible things that befall Americans are a byproduct of our lifestyle choices....not simply being born...female.
Want to know more about Dr. Hamlin and Obstetric Fistula? Click here.
Want to help: Click here to see a list of what the hospital needs.
I would also give at least one kabillion dollars to the Kadampa Center for Buddhism, the Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta, A literacy organization, NOH8, and my sorority.

Who would you "trick on" if you had it...?

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