In the winter season, more specifically in the month of December, people feel more inspired to make donations and help others. This is something, possibly due to the low temperatures, which show us crudely how homeless people suffer.
We can also attribute this “phenomenon” to the socio-cultural condition in which we have developed and to the predominant religious traditions in the West. Thus, we come to the issue of social welfare.
Is social welfare good or bad for society?
I don’t remember when and even less where it was that I saw a documentary about charity doing harm and not long after I saw a video where a person, I don’t remember his name, defended this point. Then I was confronted with my whole belief system and when you get to this situation you obviously have to rethink and restructure it.
At the same time, this article, like many others I am working on, talks about organizations and how they do a great job, their way of contributing to the creation of a better world.
They do not want to eradicate poverty by giving these donations, nor do they plan to eradicate hunger with their free meals. Their main objective is to dignify the lives of those in need.
The documentary talks about how aid from so-called first-world countries donates to countries that need help but are producers of what is offered as a contribution. A clear example is Haiti and how it receives rice, being producers themselves, causing farmers to go bankrupt and have to look for another source of income because they cannot compete against a product at no cost.
It was at that moment that many things came to mind, but one of them is that the way to help is what needs to be changed, instead of bringing more products, inputs that are produced in those places should favor the locals. Of course, this is not an absolute solution either, because I know that in this way many irregularities can also be allowed to occur.
So I found myself wandering among an endless number of possibilities. When I was finally able to discern between all these hypotheses that I cannot even carry out, I sat down to write this article with a clear position. For me, social assistance always brings good things.
Are the current methods correct?
I know that nothing is perfect, that aid can both improve the particular situation of some, and can cause the opposite effect in others; I am referring to this super addictive dependence on receiving charity.
It’s no surprise to our readers that I profess no religion, they also know perfectly well that I love the social work that many of our interviewees do. Seeing from their perspective how they improve the world and with this the lives of many people.
The organizations and civil associations that try to help are not the problem. The problem is in all those who want to take advantage or in the routes that are taken to implement the actions; the latter usually happens with international organizations that are huge and have many resources to distribute.
As I said, it is not a matter of demonizing them, we must demand that they correct the mistakes, that new protocols are formed, that everything is done with much greater transparency and for this, we must get involved.
Even in the case of small associations, we must demand that everything is done in an adequate and transparent manner. This is the case of Asis, a small group of people who have focused on a very peculiar problem in the city of Aguascalientes, Mexico.
As with everything in life, we cannot see everything in black and white. We must be aware that many methods have flaws, but we must also recognize the successes.
The problem that Asis wants to address
In many places, the same thing happens as in the city of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Many people have relatives in the hospital and must go to take care of them. What happens then, many do not have time to return home to prepare their meals.
Others do not have the resources to afford even the cost of transportation or even worse, the hospital fees, we must clarify that in Mexico only if you are employed or have a partner (legally married) who has this quality, you will be insured, of course without forgetting the students who have their insurance by law.
Of course, this is a very polarized issue, as there are those who have sufficient resources to have never set foot in a public hospital. Possibly only if you have seen this type of situation up close can you empathize with the people who need support.
In spite of this, you may have to pay for a certain part of the service or medications. Because of all of the above, it is that many of the caregivers find themselves out of the hospitals without food, not just one day, many times it is a regular situation of weeks.
Another issue is poverty, which is often not seen from the perspective of privilege. But on special dates, it comes to the fore when certain food benefits are offered. In contrast, for the rest of the year poverty is erased.
For example for “Christmas Eve”, which for the privileged is enjoyed in a family with a delicious dinner and exchange of gifts. Many go cold and hungry. This is why the government itself gives “Christmas dinners” for the date.
What I like about the approach of Asis is that they visualize the situations around them and continue to reinvent, adapt, and above all continue to persevere in order to dignify the lives of the population.
The birth of ASIS
This was all that the founder of ASIS noticed and set out to do something about it. She saw that these problems go beyond governmental support. She believes that there is often a lack of dignity in these contributions. Improving the quality of supplies and providing this service to the most affected population.
In this way, this call of service that Circe Vela felt, also came wrapped in curiosity towards a religious character to whom the name of the civil association is due: Francis of Assisi. He is remembered for his mercy and for being the founder of the Franciscans, who make a vow of poverty as he did in his time.
In the beginning what this wonderful group of people began to undertake was in the culinary world, bringing healthy food but with excellent quality to this forgotten population. Over time they broadened their horizons and also sought to bring clothing and footwear to those in need.
Asis makes dinners and typical desserts for special dates, but also normally makes meals that are delivered to people outside of hospitals and various areas of the city. This is the general plan they manage.
Caminando juntos is another civil association, which has been fundamental for Asis to continue with its good performance. They have reached out to them. You could say that they have been linked through a bridge. I mean that their collaboration is bilateral.
Something that impresses me is the quality of the person Circe is and her vision of the world. How she achieves her goals despite not having independent capital (Asis’ own).
Talking with the founder of Asis, I find out that she has convinced local businesses to donate.
One example of what she told me was a very popular hamburger business in Aguascalientes. The place is known for having high-quality hamburgers. It has not been the only business that has “sponsored” them.
To me, these types of accomplishments show that this woman leader is managing Assisi well and that by her hand she will continue to lead her team to accomplish their goals.
Something important for the collaborators of Asis is to always offer this service with a vision full of empathy.
They want to become the bridge for these people to regain their strength and be able to aspire, to dream that their lives will improve. They are that hope inserted in silence, without expecting a reward in return.
We are still in Pandemic time, this time is extraordinary for many. Asis is still working, as I mentioned, they make use of resilience. Now instead of spending 365 days exposing themselves and others.
This is how they started to make concise events and in this way, they are able to continue contributing their grain of sand to this chaotic world.
In the beginning, this time was a big blow. The team had a strategy and a rhythm that was taken away from them overnight, as many of us. So they had to take a break.
When they resumed activities they realized that this new normal was going to cost them adjustments. But they continued with a firm step and by adding their efforts they are still afloat.
From my perspective, I can’t see the whole picture. But what has come to me from Circe Vela and her team is great to work that goes beyond a simple dinner.
When talking about social aid, it is always very important to clarify where the resources come from or where they get or acquire the resources to make such aid.
Well, Asis does not have a fund, nor has the government provided any type of financing. So how do they manage to do their work? Well, I would have to say that they do it from the heart.
They, the participants of Assisi, disburse most of the resources from their personal income. They are happy when they receive donations; either in kind or monetary.
I encourage all of you who have the possibility to make a donation. As I always tell you, it doesn’t have to be much, what matters is that by adding up we reach our goal. Also if you prefer to donate to other causes, it is very respectable. Because every issue is important.
Asis is a foundation created from empathy that tries to dignify the lives of people who do not have a good financial situation.
Selfless work can be done by many people, but this group of people is already on the way in this Mexican city. Do you know others like this one? They bring a little joy back to these people who are usually forgotten.
Many people who are helped may return frequently for the support, but I am sure that for many it is the little push they needed.
I think that the work of these social contributions is necessary, even though they often end up as in the documentary. This from my perspective happens because the focus got lost along the way and people are corruptible. It could also be that it simply requires fine-tuning for the purpose to be optimally served.
However, I firmly believe that as long as inequality, in general, exists, we will continue to need big-hearted people to do this kind of social work. Who give a little of themselves to warm the souls of others even on the coldest of days.