In the foyer of the library at University today, I spotted a young lady who was selling cupcakes. Would I buy one. "It's for charity", she added, looking at me hopefully.
Charity? I see. I asked her what she was going to do. "Teach English to children in a village in Fiji and help them build water tanks and paint their school building." No, she wasn't a qualified English teacher, although she did of course have her GCSEs and stuff. Her face fell when I asked her what, then, made her qualified to teach English to other children? She had no answer.
I continued to ask questions about what she would be doing there. After all, she was asking for my money to support her work. I would be happy to give her cash if I agreed with what she was going to do. She said she would be building water tanks so the village had clean water. No, the money raised for not for her because she had already paid for her ticket. The money she was raising was going to the charity.
I suddenly felt really annoyed with her lack of honesty. Because the bottom of her fundraising paper had an official message from the organiser of the whole thing, Volunteer Eco Students Abroad (VESA). It said that the money the volunteer was raising was NOT going to the charity but would be used by the volunteer to fund the cost of their program. I asked the girl again what the money was for. She said the whole thing costs £1200 + flights. She had paid for her flight and was fundraising for the £1200. I countered therefore that the money was not going to charity but it was going to her own pocket to help her pay for this trip. Again, she got flustered. The money was needed by the charity in advance so they could buy equipment to help them teach and build water tanks and so on.
Having sufficiently upset her, I bought a cupcake. Not because I support her 'charity work', but because I felt sorry for her. She was clearly upset by my questioning.
But most importantly, she failed to mention (in fact she blatantly lied about it), that the trip would be 5 days of 'charity work' and then 7 days of sailing around the Pacific coral reefs, learning to scuba dive and lie on pristine white beaches. I am quite sure THAT is what the £1200 is for. Not to buy materials for a water tank in a remote village in Fiji.
Now I don't mind being asked to pay for someone's holiday. I think it is quite daring to do that. But at least have the decency to be honest about it.
Lost and Found
1 week ago