I have noticed that Americans as a whole feel obligated to “help the world.” This is not a bad thing at all, and I am certainly a member of this philosophy. But so much of that effort is misplaced. People believe that by chucking money at some “Third-world country” they are making things better, which is so untrue. With no concrete product, there is no accountability, so organizations can fiddle away the money and give bonuses to their executives (this is what caused Kony 2012 to fall apart). People not only chuck money at these countries, they chuck used clothes at them as well. This effort is equally as weird, because no one wants smelly used clothes from people overseas (the English tried this with the Native Americans and killed the majority of them off). Luckily, there is a solution. Organizations like Build-On funnel donations in the proper direction (Their website says that 87% of every donation goes to the program, which is quite a high percentage among this type of organization). They also focus on giving hand-up’s not hand-outs. An economy based around tourists sending money is not sustainable. That is why Build On’s model is so successful. The townspeople can say that they built the school along with foreigners, which provides them with what they need (a school) and provides us with what we need (a life changing trip).
Trips like this are important because it allows us to prepare for the changing world. The world that we will grow up in will not only force us to have a global perspective, but it will be more focused on working in a global market with a global perspective. Though it is a gigantic cliché, we are a generation of change-makers. That will be the key part about our generation. The more of the world that we are able to see, the better off we are for this changing world. Every person is able to make a difference, and will make a difference (even if only to one person), so the more informed that person is, the better off the world will be.