As part of my daily attempts to redeem my soul (long term at least) I make an effort to give to charity. I have found that the most efficient platform is a service called Good Street. I make a monthly contribution of (IIRC) $7.50 and then, each day, I receive an email which presents me with a cause and 2 charities which help address that cause from 2 different angles. I can then choose which of the two receives .25 from my monthly donation. In cases where there is a large scale issue/tragedy, the general area of donations might stay the same for two or three days, but usually, each day brings a new cause, already researched by the people at Good St. and two charities, pre-vetted so that all I have to do is click a button. Easy, effective and educational. I recommend that you all join and buy gift subscriptions for loved ones who can then not only benefit from the giving of charity, but become more aware of the causes in the greater world. All good, right?
This morning's email had a write up which began as follows, "South Africa’s education system is one of the weakest in the world. In a table drawn up by the OECD, the South African education system ranked 75th out of 76." (sourced here) I am not going to argue with the statistics because, honestly, I haven't researched them and have no reason to doubt their veracity. And I'm a big fan of education so that isn't the problem.
But think about it -- according to that ranking system, there are 76 countries involved. One of them will invariably be last. It has to happen that way. There has to be a bottom of the list unless there is some incredible mathematical tie! And I'm not counting on that. This means that if I donate to any one country, while I may be helping there, I am forcing whatever country gets leapfrogged over into a lower position on the list! How am I supposed to look the good people of, say, Morocco in the eye if I help South Africa rise? And won't the guilt of pushing Botswana down eat me up from the inside?
Maybe we should all agree that, statistically (and ignoring Lake Wobegon), a huge chunk of people/countries are below average, and on most any list, someone has to be at the bottom. Does this mean that we ignore the educational system in South Africa? Absolutely not.
It seems to me that what we should do is donate the money, improve the system and then encourage everyone to move to another country! Then, their educational system will be superior with no chance of losing steam. Alternatively, I have devised a two-step solution to resolve this issue, ensuring that, in the future, no country will suffer the indignity of being at the bottom of a statistical ranking.
1. Outlaw statistics.
P.S. Goodst is seriously wonderful. Don't hold my recommendation against them. I joined and subscribed my kids. Other family members ahve also joined and others have given subscriptions as gifts. Do it.