Last year I was visiting a local book fair when I found a photographic journal titled 'What Matters' by David Cohen. It showcases pressing issues around the world, like how something as invisible as the battery in our phones (normally Lithium-based) will end up being processed and separated manually by hand by villagers in developing countries. The contamination that the kids have to go through was visibly severe that it's heart wrenching.
But I was conflicted. How does one help when one does not understand the problem enough? What could have helped? Any meaningful interventions seem to be out of reach for any of these complex issues. There's also a chance that they might not address the issue at heart. But I have enough with the paralysis of giving excuses and not doing anything.
So this is a budding commitment I'm setting for myself: I’ll contribute $500 per year to a list of charities audited by GiveWell, starting with issues related to sight impairments and clean water. My gratitude to the folks from effective altruism community back in Oxford for introducing me to this organization. They perform impressive jobs in auditing and providing comprehensive reports of charities to let people understand how contributions are utilized.
Appendix (do check out these causes):
- Sightsavers' Deworming Program
Evidence Action's Dispensers for Safe Water program
- Other top and outstanding charities.