The Ugandan Shilling is down in value. Now I know very little about economics or how world money fluctuates in relationship to each other. I’ve never had a course about world market or how a country grows or diminishes its net worth or its currency.
Yet a few things strike me about this CAD (canadian dollar) versus UGX (ugandan shilling) thing.
One, I realize that their lowered money is bad for them. It decreases their ability to compete on the world market and it lowers an individuals ability to access western goods and resources.
Two, I realize that this is good for us. Specifically, as we at Capturing Courage are sponsoring Bible School in January in Uganda, what we had budgeted as a $600 price tag is now just over a $400 price tag.
Good for us, Bad for them. I think this means bad for all of us.
When one party loses we all lose.
Where this currency reality really hits home is in the sponsorship of children.
Billions is spent every year on sponsoring children all over the world.
Myself, I am sponsoring one boy in Madudu, Uganda. A young man who along with his Grandma hosts me in their home whenever I am in town.
This young man’s schooling is integral to his future, and has been a constant worry to them in regards to school fees, and can they make the payments. He himself, though seventeen has carried the weight of the cost in his heart and mind.
So when I agreed to cover his school fees each term he and his Grandma were ecstatic.
Those school fees are 25,000 UGX for a three-month term of school.
When I was there in August I therefore left that 25,000 UGX for them.
It was about $12.00 CAD…. For three months of schooling.
As I look ahead to January when I need to be sending another three-months worth of school fees, because of the weakened Ugandan Shilling, it now amounts to $9.13 CAD.
Imagine, I am going to go to a Western Union to send money and I will be sending $10. There is something ridiculous about that.
So while I am saving $2 on my commitment, imagine the Sponsorship Organizations and the money they are saving and/or making any time a country’s currency drops in value.
Imagine my $2 saving multiplied by millions of children.
It would be pretty hard as an organization not to somewhat rejoice in the substandard currency.
Especially when it is amounting to millions of dollars.
Somehow this is all not okay.
I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not even sure what the real question is. But I do know that I am appalled.
I am appalled that most sponsorship programs are running on donations of $35-40 per month.
My school sponsorship of Pascal is $3.03 per month. For 9 months of the year. The other three months there is no school, after all.
Now Pascal has a home and clothes and food. My sponsorship of his schooling doesn’t cover any of that, simply the school supplies he needs so that he can attend school.
Many sponsorship programs are covering so much more.
But there is still something really off here. And when the currency of a country lowers to the point that the excess is benefiting us, something even greater is wrong.
Their weakness should not be our strength.
And like all business do we really want it to get better for them? Do cancer researchers really want to do away with cancer? Imagine the untold lost jobs and revenue if cancer were healed.
Do we really want arthritis to be healed? Imagine the untold lost jobs and revenue if arthritis were healed.
Do we really want society to be well and emotionally healthy? Imagine the untold lost jobs and revenue if there were no physical illness, no mental illness, no compromises health? Imagine.
And do we really want developing nations to be taking care of their own? Do we really want them self-sufficient and strong, caring for their own poor and schooling their own children?
Imagine the untold lost jobs and revenue if that were to happen.
Taking care of all that is wrong is big business. VERY BIG Business.
What if we were to make things right. What then?
Making things right has got to be the goal.
I’m not settling for anything less.