There’s this toy drive going at the moment for “Operation Christmas Child”. The idea is you gather a shoebox of little gifts, like pens and pencils, small toys and so on, and send it to Africa or someplace for Christmas.
Sounds nice, right?
Me being be, I decided to skim the website of the charity involved, to see what else they do.
They’re a Christian charity, as many charities are (Care Australia isn’t).
The thing I have the most issues with about what they do? Their approach to HIV/AIDS education. They provide recordings in the native language on HIV/AIDS education… but the way they do it?
There are two separate training tracks: Building the Church, which includes the Bible in Khmer along with scriptural training lessons; and Messages of Hope, which includes lessons addressing HIV/AIDS, child protection, health and sanitation, and parenting.
Sorry, I don’t want a part in that, nor do I, as their newsletter said, want a part in putting together a box that (let me find the quote) “through the gifts the children will come to know the love of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas” (p2)…
I read another part somewhere today, which I can’t track down, that credited the boxes for giving the church an ‘in’ to a community in order to spead religion. (I wish I could find the quote, sorry).
Ahem. But anyway. Find a charity whose mission and methods you agree with. Read their back story. That’s my message that I’m preaching ;)