The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Garbed in Poverty

 

I had my “blue sweater” moment recently. Have you read the account Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund, writes about in her book The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World? As a small girl Jacqueline had a favorite blue sweater she cherished and wore even as she outgrew it. Eventually, she donated it to charity. Much later, while visiting Rwanda, Jacqueline saw a small boy wearing her favorite childhood sweater! In my case, I was in a remote rural area about 25 miles north of Nairobi when I spied a man walking down a muddy road wearing a Washington Redskins hat!

At first it’s amusing to see so many people in Africa wearing clothing with American brands and names. This is crazy, I first thought. Here I am thousands of miles from home and I’m seeing all kinds of American stuff. It’s just not big brands either—I saw baseball caps from Kansas and rural co-ops and T-shirts from obscure events. But once the novelty wears off, the sobering reality hits: our cast-offs are providing necessary clothing to millions of people in Africa, and many other places as well. It’s good to know our used clothing can make a difference. But it points out again the unfair disparity between our excessive wealth in America and the desperate poverty in much of Africa.

---

Bob.jpgThe preceding is a guest post Bob Ottenhoff,  Chief Executive of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. With an entrepreneurial spirit, strong technology focus, and a quest to make an impact in the world, Bob has the ability to take an organization and lead it into strong performance, sustainability, and industry leadership.

Topics: Charitable Giving Charity Africa Poverty