We give pennies away without much thought - take a penny, leave a penny on counters everywhere. What's it worth? Not much -- but when one penny gets together with another and another, great things can be accomplished. With just 4400 pennies a child can attend school for a year in Zambia. A million pennies can set up a maize-grinding mill that will support 20 grandmothers and their families AND pay the annual operating costs for an ambulance.
If you have pennies to donate, we'll come and get them. If you'd like to collect pennies for us, we'll give you a jar!
So it is with our work. One woman can't do much but if two join and another and another, we can change the world.
"It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say WE
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more."
Excerpt from The Low Road by Marge Piercy copyright 2006 Middlemarsh, Inc.
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!"