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When Charity Destroys Dignity Paperback – July 2, 2013
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About the Author
Glenn Schwartz served the church in Zambia and Zimbabwe during the 1960s. He then served for six years during the 1970s as an administrator in the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary. Since 1983, he has served as Executive Director of World Mission Associates and has been researching, writing and speaking about issues of dependency and self-reliance in the Christian movement. He and his wife, Verna, currently live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where they have two adult children and their families.
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A MUST read for anyone managing foreign non profits, even non-religious aid work, especially in the African context, but it is still broadly valid for work in many areas.
In short, local initiative and local funding seem to be Mr. Schwartz's solution to this problem. This seems to be a no brainer. However, it isn't always so simple. Such projects as clinics or schools, even in developed countries always are fund raising, writing for grants, looking for loans, etc. In a country where there is no stable government, minimal infrastructure, rampant corruption, and extreme poverty, funding for these types of things has to come from somewhere.
He gives examples of churches which have overcome dependency which is very good. Some of it seems unrealistic though. One church for example which had only unemployed women and children came up with this solution. 1. Teach the women how to care for their families. 2. Teach them how to bring their husbands to the Lord. 3. Teach them how to make something with their hands so they can earn a living. 4. Teach them to give some of it back to God in thanksgiving.
It apparently worked for that particular church but think of women you know who have been praying and trying to bring their husbands to the Lord for years with no success. In the US 9 out of 10 new business startups fail. I personally am in the midst of a business startup and it is taking years to get off the ground so I have a full time paid job to live on in the mean time.
However, this book is well worth reading, more than once in fact. I intend to read it again myself.
I have served a number of years in west Africa and continually come across the fruit of destroyed dignity.