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Abandoned children

I never thought that these kinds of things still are reality in a 'civilized' world. Check details at [/people/eddy.declercq/blog/2008/02/25/beyond-words|/people/eddy.declercq/blog/2008/02/25/beyond-words]

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  • Posted on Jan 22, 2008 at 10:26 AM


    I promised to respond to your posts on abandoned child treatment in Bulgaria, as you were concerned about the issue, and about perceived SAP community nonresponsiveness. Anyone who donates to or works with charitable organizations, knows some of the business process dynamics behind the communications, the finances and the emotions tied to the desire to help others.

    Several years ago, I served on a large US city Grand Jury, which met daily for 3 months. During those sessions, we heard testimony from police, medics, scientists and eyewitnesses to the most brutal crimes I could have imagined. As part of this experience, we toured “correctional” facilities, i.e., jails. I saw the conditions in which our society expected to reform prisoners, but which had insufficient educational or vocational training. I went away from that vowing I would volunteer as a teacher, since better educated people are less likely to return to jail. Yet, many years later, I still have not pushed myself to follow through.

    In the paper a while ago, I read stories of an organization connected with a church (doesn't matter which one) who was raising money. The newspaper found that a very large percentage of the money raised went to administrative expenses; follow up stories looked at other charities to profile how much went to the advertised cause or mission, and how much stayed in the hands of the officers. This kind of fraud works against the success of other charities, when people become too suspicious to donate or be involved.

    Before my son was born, and for a couple years after, I volunteered one night per week at an AIDS hot line. In the beginning, the organization was tiny (2, then 3, then 4 staffers, etc.) and there was no money, just work to do. After several years, the issue grew to the point where serious money was being spent on counseling and related social services. The organization grew very large, but a scandal occurred that caused further donations and contracts to shrink. The impact of this was not on the officers and staff, but to their clients.

    I have tracked the numbers of views of my SDN blogs, and observed that the largest audiences, as well as generally the highest point awards, have been for technical subjects, not the “other” ones, like community-building. I also note the very low numbers reading the CSR forum where I'm posting this. It should not be surprising given the audience and purpose for SDN, but your concerns about lack of response have me considering where these topics belong in the SAP Community. As SAP mentors, we blaze trails where others have not gone. I propose we focus on a few issues, rather than too many. The “Food For Points” program needs to be the standard against which other efforts are measured.

    Finally, I said “think globally, act locally” on yesterday, in describing how I would respond. People tend to magnify the impact of problems that occur close to them, and minimize problems further away. We should find ways to steer people to their local community voluntary organizations, so that they can see tangible benefits. Our Boy Scout troop donates food to homeless shelters that are within a few miles of where we live, to people they see in the local grocery store and library. I think this will focus them on the results of their actions, rather than worrying about whether the donation will be delivered as intended.

    Thanks, Eddy!


    (Opinions expressed are mine, no one else's.)

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    • Hi,

      I do agree on the donation issue. One sees this also with the booming CO2 compensation business, which is after all a business, trying to make profit. I did NOT say that all charity works is like this and thus no donation is needed, in the contrary.

      I was a bit doubtful publishing this web log (hence the time gap between the documentary broadcast and the web log), but there are some reasons which convinced me to do so:

      - it happens a couple of thousand km from my place. Speaking in US terms, that's certainly local.

      - it's not really about fund raising, but about awareness that such things still happen. On top of that, it happens in Bulgaria, a member of the EU.

      - when you look at the site and ask what you can do, the focus is not on fund raising (it's welcome, but not necessary) but on contacting your MP or government in order that they (hopefully) will act and show their displeasure and their population

      - again, as father and human being I can't be unmoved. These children are not deserving this kind of treatment, unwanted or not. One speaks of the future of our children when it comes to global warming. Well these children are living TODAY without any idea of the future.

      I thought, by publishing this web log, it would make people aware of things and that this community IS different (and not only geeks thinking about nothing else than code and business) and act in a way they prefer. I hope that it isn't ignorance.

      If you are afraid of taking any (political) action, spreading the word can be sufficient.


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