Is it something you learn? Or something you're taught or perhaps something innate in some people?
Regardless of which answer you side with, one thing we can agree on is that we all show compassion at least once in our lives! For instance, I once knew a man who was perceived to be "evil" the qualities that supposedly made him evil were greed and selfishness. Let's break down these two powerful words starting with selfishness.
What does it take for one to be selfish? To think only about themselves, to be egocentric!
What about greed? To want everything for yourself, that pretty much sums it up!
This man who was deemed as "evil" didn't like sharing very much, he had worked so hard to prove that he didn't need further education to succeed, admittedly for some this is the case but it is ever so rare especially in developing countries. When a relative or friend asked for money he would nine out of ten times say no, when a relative popped by his store to beg for food, he would say no. Does that make him evil? Given his background, he could not afford going to college, he passed his GCSE's and worked so darn hard to make something of himself. He managed to open three food stores and luckily business was booming!
Needless to say that more and more relatives continued to beg for money and food but he still said no! One day he took in a child, an orphan who was not related to him, he raised him like he was his own, he sent him to college and paid for all his education and leisure needs. This boy now a man got a very good job in a prestigious firm and he was forever grateful to this man. The man was deemed even more evil now because he took in a child and raised him despite the fact that he was not a relative, but he simply did not care what people thought of him!
Why did he take in a strange orphan boy and not his relative, the simple answer is he saw potential and took a chance. What his relatives failed to appreciate is that he also took in two orphan boys to whom he was related, they had lost their father and the mother quickly remarried, their step dad wanting nothing to do with them. This "evil" man took them in and treated them the same way he treated the other orphan boy he had raised.
Compassion is a very complex term, it depends on what you are talking about and to whom! This so called evil man was not evil at all, he for some reason was drawn to orphan children who were abandoned in one way or another. He was not able to help everyone so he chose to help those that he felt compelled to, whose to say that if he helped all the people that walked through his door, he would end up like them begging because his business would not succeed if everyone got freebies!
Orphans are the most vulnerable children on earth, they have no one to turn to and for this reason they deserve compassion. Which brings me to my next point, an orphanage should be a place where children can eat, live safely, learn and play. Which is why I felt saddened when I heard about two separate orphanages in Zambia and Tanzania that do not operate as they should.
I will start with the latter, this particular orphanage based in Tanzania receives adequate funding which can support both the children's basic food needs as well as the provision of education. However, the managers of that orphanage choose not to fully support the children, they give them food and clothing, send them to school but the money which is supposed to be allocated to learning tools and equipment such as wheelchairs is not used for that purpose but instead pocketed. What can be done to solve this issue? The workers are in a predicament, if they report the issue to their manager, whose to say they won't fire them to get rid of the "problem". This is a dilemma the employees find themselves in, how can this problem be fixed? The workers are now forced to fundraise for the orphanage on their own, in their spare time, this is very admirable and must be applauded, however, a solution needs to be found to prohibit these circumstances from recurring, as this affects the children immensely. If the people in charge could apply empathy and compassion the problems that face orphan children would be drastically reduced. Compassion is the key that will change these corrupt systems.
Going back to the former, Zambia, the problem that we see is very similar to that of Tanzania, some orphanages are only providing food, this is great for a short term solution but in the long run it will not help alleviate poverty. Once the children reach the age of approximately 16-18 they will leave the orphanage but what will they do afterwards? With no skills to offer, how can they fit into the working class or have an entrepreneur mindset? Without the basic reading skills, it is difficult for anyone to establish a business or apply for jobs. For some unfound reason some orphanages turn down the free opportunity to implement a literacy programme, why is this so? Are they hiding something? If so, what is it? We are going to push through and find out why? Until then we will continue to provide books to orphanages that want and need our help.