By Mohammed Taha
As recently reported in the media, I write to applaud Rotarians in Kampala who participated in a race to raise funds for the cancer ward at St Raphael of St Francis Hospital Nsambya. This answers the common adage that ‘Charity begins at home’ and it is one of the common principles that cut across all faiths or religion in all regions of the globe.
Almsgiving as a form of charity is in particular a cardinal pillar in the Islamic faith, considered as a means to create an economically just society, but important of all purifying the giver (Zakat) but rarely observed.
Remarkably, almsgiving is equally important in the Christian faith and according to the Bible (Acts 9:36-43, Galatians 2:10, Luke 21:1-4, Mathew 25; 45 etc) It is categorically encouraged for believers and the faithful to give alms as part of prayer. In the Catholic faith, am told according to catechism, besides prayer and fasting, almsgiving is the third most important cardinal principle taken a step higher during the month of lent also termed as the penitential season. In Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism and all common religions encourage almsgiving as a way to live a fulfilled spiritual life.
Since Uganda is a religious country (For God and my country), it is upon the above background and for the good sake of every able individual to cherish helping out other individuals through any affordable means.
Apart from religion, the Ugandan society ought to embrace almsgiving to define patriotism at an individual-to-individual or intra-personal level; for instance apart from all eyes facing the president and a few renown economically successful people, this gracious cause has been left “to whom it may concern”. Some of the obscenely rich and wealthy individuals who ought to come out for this cause have opted for extended alcohol binges and multiple sex orgies; all these traits lead to a stupor state of mind of the I “Don’t care attitude” and self-destruction.
The methods of almsgiving may not stop at handouts to street children and destitutes as commonly done, (these days KCCA may arrest one for such) and neither does it end in Corporate Social Responsibility strategies as the only options. It can entail local concerted deliberate efforts to make contributions for an Identified talent among the needy, or to foster the doctrine of live and let live at an individual level.
Likewise, the identified needy will feel challenged to reciprocate similar gestures as a matter of culture and that is how society can alternatively develop. Depending on foreign donors for charity works is not sustainable in the long run, yet all over the world, charity will be needed in perpetuity since it is a spiritual calling, failure of which entails social insecurity!
One clear observation I have to make is that societies which have been giving alms, donations, charity and all forms support to humanity continue to live in blessings of abundance and satisfaction; very many examples are there for one to see and prove. None-giving societies do not usually leave any meaningful legacy; their achievements are interred with generational brakes.
The writer is a Kampala resident and businessman.