Australia is one of the most desirable holiday destinations on the planet with sites like the Great Barrier Reef, Ayer’s Rock and the Sydney Harbour Bridge on many people’s bucket list. A number of its capital cities consistently appear in the annual lists of the world’s most liveable cities.
But Australians recognise that many Australians are still doing it tough. Housing prices put the family home out of reach to many. The disintegration of the manufacturing industry has reduced the need for unskilled labour and addictions of affluence, including drugs and gambling, are leading to unprecedented levels of family breakdown and violence.
So, when the call comes for overseas aid, there is a growing response to first ‘look after our own’. In recent decades, there has been an increase in awareness of home-grown needs from natural disasters, domestic violence, homelessness and drug addiction.
So, what about the Developing World? Why do we need to demonstrate compassion for those we may never see or know? And can we both ‘care for our own’ and help those living in poverty across the world?
After many years of working in Australian-based community support, I retain a passion to help Australians on the margin. It is vital that we invest in supporting people and providing opportunities to live full and promising lives. It is vital that we protect women and children from violence and neglect. It is vital that we offer health and treatment services that care for the least of these.
And we are. Statistics show that 85% of the Australian charity dollar targets domestic needs and services. Leaving 15% for overseas aid and development work, with up to half of that amount spent in Australia on support and fundraising services.
I would advocate, we cannot afford that percentage to fall any further.
I don’t put forward an ‘us or them’ approach to giving.
We are a global community moved by compassion to help those in need wherever they are geographically located. So, give where you see a need and see answers. Where both problem and response sit side by side. And I promise that when you give to Foxglove women in Rwanda, India and Cambodia, together we make a difference that cascades across families, communities, nations and generations.
That’s the kind of giving that is good for the soul.
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