Effective Charity

I’m hoping to go visit the kids one last time this coming weekend before I head off to MIT for grad school on the 22nd. Every time I go to Kakkaiyankulam and Chiraddikulam and shell out $100 for the van ride, $30 for the hotel, and $XXX for goodness knows what else that doesn’t directly benefit anyone but me, I am gripped by the fear that what I am doing isn’t terribly efficient. I’ve dealt with this fear by telling myself that I’ve seen a huge change in the children over the past year, but honestly, apart from my [qualitative] comments on this blog, I’m not evaluating this change in any quantitative way. Is the change real or fondly imagined? It’s sometimes hard to tell.

Peter Singer has an article in the NYT called “Good Charity, Bad Charity” where he outlines ways to think about effective giving. It sounds harsh but realistic, and I’ve put his book The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty on my Amazon wishlist, to read more of what he says on the subject. In the meantime, I’d really appreciate your thoughts and comments, dear audience.

2 Comments on “Effective Charity”

    1. Thanks so much – I really appreciate the response. The conclusion I always come to when I think about this issue is that the effect of the arts on the mind and body is so much less quantifiable than the effect of, say, an eye operation, but of course that’s no reason to stop. As someone who would like to see numbers, I still struggle with that reasoning, but I also owe a huge turnaround in my own life to theatre, which is why I started this project in the first place. Again, thank you!

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