Flood Relief And Helping Pakistan

Please give what you can to help your country. You can get started with this Flood Relief effort.

An unusually wet summer. Poor infrastructure, unable to deal with too much or too little water. A country torn apart, first by corruption and political instability, then by terrorism. A collection of people who have struggled for their identity since 11 September 1948. A culture of excess, selfish self-interest and paranoid conspiracy theories.

Yes, we’re a troubled nation, but that’s not the problem here. Yes, there is donor fatigue and a global recession, not to mention the “Pakistan=terrorist haven” equation bandied about by Western media since 2001. But that’s not the problem.

Malik Riaz’s motivations aside, the man has an extremely valid point – if the richest people of Pakistan invested their wealth into rebuilding Pakistan, we wouldn’t need any external aid. The truth is that while this would result in more power being concentrated into the hands of the few (those who come forward into the limelight will not step back into the shadows when asked to), it may just be part of the solution that Pakistan has been looking for decades.

But that’s the rich and the influential – what about the rest of us? What about the 99.99% of the Pakistani population that’s part affluent, part middle class and mostly poor and destitute? What can we do?

Pakistan’s #1 Problem

  • We expect the world to help (they’re better off than us).
  • We expect the rich to help (they have money to burn).
  • We expect our parents and family elders to help (they are responsible for us).
  • We expect our friends to help (they have more time for this).
  • We expect charity and social service organisations to help (that’s their job, isn’t it?).
  • We expect rich corporations to help (those blood-suckers should pay back).

And the list goes on.

But we never expect OURSELVES to help.

Every nation, every society and every person faces hardships and challenges, some that will be threats to your very existence. The only way to thrive in the face of adversity – to overcome it successfully and prevent it from happening again – is to take responsibility for what happens to you and the people around you.

All of us – the rich, the poor, the middle class – we have a responsibility to help those around you. Of course it’s different for each person and it depends on your circumstances, but just because you live with your parents, go to school or make very little money does not mean that you can’t help.

Maybe you can spend an hour a day helping a local charity collect rations. Maybe you can contribute 10% of your monthly income to a local cause. Maybe you can donate some of your old clothes and books.

If you’re in business, jack up your prices by 10%, and advertise that 10% of all profits go to charity. Ideally you would pay that 10% out of your pocket if that bothers you, then you can easily leverage your position in society to generate more funds.

There are people who talk a lot about helping out, but when it comes to acting on it, they restrict themselves to ‘spreading the word’ instead of giving themselves. Yes, awareness is important, but a problem of this magnitude requires more than just words. Spread the word by all means, but give first.

There is so much we can do ourselves. Whether it’s the national education crisis (yes, it’s a crisis, because even though the literacy rate is increasing we’re grooming children for mediocrity and service and we are nowhere near the standards expected from a modern society), or floods, or something small and local, there is tremendous power in standing up to protect your own interests and of those around you instead of sitting by idly.

You can choose to determine your own destiny, you can choose to build the country and future that you want, or you can choose to stand aside watch it all go to hell.

There is no shame in asking for help. But help yourself first. There’s nothing wrong with expecting others to help. But start by giving first.

You’ll be surprised at how much we can accomplish if everyone just gives 10% of their time, their savings, their possessions – once a year – towards building a better future for our country.

Please give what you can to help your country. You can get started with this Flood Relief effort.

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