When I was choosing my Thin Line films, I was especially excited about Poverty, Inc. Just watching the preview, I felt my heartrate increase and small surge of excitement course through my body. I’ll be honest, I’m 33 years old and I’m still trying to work out my “calling”. I work in logistics. I travel. I write. I take some photos. But my passion? That is something else entirely.
I have this daydream that plays often in my mind. Red dirt roads. Hot. Dusty. Barefoot children playing soccer in the dirt. Laughter echoing through the street. And me (with my dog) in a gray cemented courtyard, kids grasping at me for affection. And a feeling of complete joy rushes over me. I look up into the cloudless, blue sky and smile with contentment. I’ve asked myself so many times why I have this vision? Am I supposed to be a missionary? No. I don’t think so…that doesn’t feel right exactly. Am I supposed to be with orphans? Maybe. Getting closer. Do I just really want to adopt? I could see that being a definite possibility. The answer is…I don’t know. But it’s there. And to temporarily satiate myself, I find ways to get involved here in Dallas. I’ll go to homeless shelters and get in touch with some child advocacy and adoption programs from time to time. I knew going into this film, it was going to be life-changing for me. And it was. I want to do more!
Poverty, Inc. addresses the issue of what has been turned into an “industry." A concept that has nagged me for years in the back of my mind but have always pushed out. Because…I’m here. What can I really do to help? So many people have a desire to help. And we have endless options to appease ourselves. We clean out our pantries and our closets, drive down to the local shelter, dump our boxes and drive away with an overwhelming feeling of goodness. I can just see that young girl, wearing my favorite American Eagle top from college. She’s so happy. She’s so complete. Oh…the feels! But have you ever wondered what your donation REALLY means?
With organizations like Toms, World Vision and Unicef, we have this image of “third world countries” as being destitute. No water. No food. No clothes. Dirty half-naked kids with bloated tummies congregating around a giant pot while Justin Beiber sweetly scoops spoonfuls of rice into their little aluminum bowls, while they habitually swat flies off their precious little faces. We immediately jump off the couch and rush to our checkbooks, write out our (very generous) donation without even a moment of hesitation. Shpew. We did it. Another child saved. But what is your donation really for and what is the REAL impact of your generosity?
The old proverb comes to mind, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." What if our approach to poverty is all wrong? What if we are only providing a band-aid, instead of a cure?
This thought-provoking film will challenge you. It will challenge you to question your worldview. And it will challenge you to DO more. Maybe it’s to spend time researching organizations before rushing to your mailbox with charitable donations. Or maybe you’ll feel challenged to experience the people and the culture of these nations yourself. Either way, Poverty, Inc. will beg you to stop and ask yourself, “How can I REALLY help?”
Bottom line: Everyone needs to see this film.