The poor are always with us – and in great numbers.
In the United States, about 46.5 million people live in poverty, according to the Brookings Institution. Worldwide, the number of impoverished people is about 1.6 billion, according to a study by Oxford economists.
“There is so much need out there and that’s why I believe it’s important that all of us do whatever we can to help the underprivileged,” says Lumbie Mlambo, editor of Equanimity Magazine, an online publication that features inspiring stories of success. Mlambo, who holds an associate degree in computer science from Indiana University South Bend and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Texas Woman’s University, is multilingual, speaking English, Zulu, Ndebele and French.
“Who knows? You may someday wear their shoes. It’s like your health; nothing is guaranteed.”
Mlambo co-founded JB Dondolo Inc., a charity named for her father that promotes and develops projects that stimulate growth and improve people’s lives in low-income areas. One of the charity’s newer projects involves health and educational programs for underprivileged boys and girls.
“The truth is that regardless of whether a nation is industrialized or not, the needy are everywhere,” Mlambo says. “Many people require aid and support around the world and, most likely, in your community.”
A variety of private and public agencies try to help, she says, but their resources are limited and they can’t provide for every community in need of assistance or basic necessities. This leaves a large segment of low-income population with unmet needs, which is why it’s so important for everyone to do what they can to help the needy. There are different ways in which people choose to help, for example, some may look at ethical property investing as it means that the money they invest will be used to support worthwhile causes while also providing them some returns in time. Others may choose to donate to different charities on a regular basis, or do volunteering work, provide shelter, etc.
Mlambo offers tips for how we can get started helping our brothers and sisters in need.
• One person’s trash … Next time you’re taking time to clear some room in your closet or garage, remember that, though you may be finished with an item, someone else may need it. Those old pajamas, underwear and t-shirts that you’re fond of tossing in the trash can be turned into cloth rags for cleaning at home, or for other organizations to help under-privileged earn a subsistence income through using them for cloth crafting. Items such as loose leaf pages of paper, construction paper, crayons (broken and whole), markers, pens and pencils are perfectly useful, especially for poor children going back to school.
• Help others on date night. Lavish dresses, spotless tuxedos and expensive dishes are not only for fancy people. You, too, can attend a luxurious gala event to benefit charity. While this kind of event may be attended by affluent community leaders and well-to-do folks who may enjoy gratuitous back-slapping, the more important consideration is who benefits. Various good causes may be small businesses and historic sites in your town; better causes, however, often go toward organizations that benefit struggling families, disadvantaged children and homeless people. This will likely be more expensive than your typical date night, but most are doable for middle-class couples.
• Donate your professional skills. Among the great charitable organizations are programs supporting Guardians ad Litem, or GALs. A GAL is a person the court appoints to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case. The GAL will investigate the family situation and advise the court about where a child should live and what type of contact parents should have with their children. A professional with backgrounds including the law or journalism may be great for such work, but there are many other worthy causes if this doesn’t fit what you’re good at. A chef may help prepare tasty meals on Thanksgiving, or a salon worker may help make young girls with cancer feel pretty. Most professions can apply their expertise in the service of others.