A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a man named Anees in Iraq. Anees had broken his ankle, and the break was complicated by a previous broken leg. He could not afford the cost of the surgery to reset his bones. Anees was in a lot of pain when I met him, and I had little to give. I wrote about him, and several of you responded by donating to Conscience International. Last week we received word that Anees was getting worse and would be going to the hospital. Could we help?
Conscience International matched the amount that came in through Communicating Across Boundaries, we made up the difference, and Anees had his surgery last week. On Sunday we received pictures of he and his wife in his hospital room. He is recovering quickly and sent us his love and prayers.
I love this story. I love that someone in Iraq, who lost everything a year ago, will now walk without pain. I am humbled that you responded, that you gave to Anees. It’s unlikely you will ever meet him, but no matter, you still gave.
In all the bad news, single stories shine like stars in a dark night. They may be small stories compared to the human need that we see, but for that one person – the story is huge. We are frail humans, limited by resources, lack of motivation, and disbelief that we can make a difference. But when we enter the stories of others, we get to be front seat participants in miracles.
It’s also important to choose our charities wisely. While some people may be more comfortable in donating to big names like International Rescue Committee or World Vision, there are smaller organizations where you can understand better where your money goes. Charity Navigator is an unbiased website that exists so that individual givers can better decide where to give their money. It rates charities based on accountability and finances. Different metrics that fall under those two categories are given separate scores that all contribute to an overall rating. It depends on what is important to you, but I pay special attention to the amount that is spent on people and programs. If that amount is less than 85%, then I am hesitant to give. The limitation on Charity Navigator is that you must have an operating budget of over a million dollars for them to rate you. The site goes into details on how much the CEO is paid, what the breakdown is for administrative overhead, information on board members and much more.
The chaos in our world continues, the refugee problem has not gone away, but one man is resting in peace in a hospital room in Iraq and we got to be front seat participants.