A friend commented yesterday, "You must be very busy with your charity work." I gave her a quick rely, "Yes, we work very hard..." but since then I have been reflecting on the difference between charity and solidarity.
Charity is "a generous action or donation given to the poor" whereas solidarity is "a union arising from common responsibility and interests, a community of feeling and purposes." We do not take action in support of African grandmothers from a mindset of charity as in a donor/recipient relationship where the bounty of the donor is shared with a grateful recipient. Rather, we are the grateful ones -- grateful to be part of the triumph of the human spirit exemplified each day by African grandmothers; grateful for the opportunity to give meaning and shape to our days. We are grateful to act in sisterhood with each other and African grandmothers in nurturing the generation of children who are the future hope of Africa. This is our common responsibility, feeling and purpose. So the reply to the comment should have been, "Yes, we are very busy. Busy in solidarity on two continents. Join us!"