\"\"

The heart Ireland - nations compassion and social awareness

\"\"

Charities represented on the streets of Ireland
Global and Social Awareness is a very important topic to me and it would seem an important topic to the Irish people as well.

I have been remarkably impressed with the great presence of institutions and organizations that are dedicated to global and social awareness and betterment.

The town I attend University in back in California is a very socially active and globally aware community, but the city of Cork and the Irish people could put Santa Cruz to shame. It is not that there is not a concern or total lack of knowledge on global issues (there are many admirable individuals and organizations in the states) but rather that, personal issues often take on greater and perhaps an unnecessary amount of weight. I know I have been guilty of it. Even having been raised in the church, I never saw as much intentional action towards global issues as I have in Ireland.

Trocaire ad campaign
During a time of financial crisis for the entire nation, the Irish people raised over one billion Euro through a single charity alone, Trocaire, to help other nations in drought, famine or otherwise economically debilitating and desperate situations. To multiply that by the amount of non-profit organizations I encounter on a daily basis here in Cork would stand as evidence that Ireland certainly puts the money where their mouth is.

---------------------
READ MORE:
More Gaelic Girls tales on IrishCentral

The most Irish town in America is named


Hell hath no fury like a golfer's wife scorned - PHOTO
---------------------

Hundreds turn out for a charity walk
This state of general awareness may be mutually dependent on the very physical presence of these non-profit organization. In the states, if I want to donate to an organization I have to go online, call in or send a check through the post. But here in Ireland, I can walk into any number of standing physical shops or offices that provide information on their organizations and often also sell fair trade or donated products, the funds of which go entirely toward the organization. While there are such organizations back home that deal in second hand goods for benefit (Salvation Army, The Hospice, St. Vincent de Paul…) they are farther and fewer between. Nor do these groups have quite the physical, on the street presence that charities do here in Cork. Walking less than half a mile between Bachelors Quay and Washington on North Main, I encountered four individuals collecting donations and passed more than six shops dedicated to a cause. On any given day I can run into a number of charity workers collecting for anything from the various Cancer Awareness groups, Concern Worldwide, Asthma Society, Oxfam, the list continues.

Even on my plane ride into Dublin, donations for Oxfam were taken up by Aer Lingus staff, before landing. That is something I have never seen done on any U.S. based airline services. Nor, do I have the confidence that it would be met with such general welcome and active response. It is not perhaps that those in America dislike the idea of giving but perhaps that is has steered away from and developed almost a callous heart to the issues abroad. A recent Facebook trend bore an image of Steve Jobs with the caption “One man dies, thousands cry” and a parallel image of emaciated children with the caption “Thousands die, few cry”. It, sadly, does seem to be the general attitude of many of my fellow citizens born in the “ME generation”, that they are entitled to everything they have and want, forgetting that the majority of the world is in great and dire need.

An additional difference I notice here, is that change matters. And I don’t mean the kind of change President Obama speaks of (as much as I admire him), I mean coin. In the states most charities ‘appreciate’ but don’t ‘count’ the donation if it is under a certain amount (usually ten-twenty dollars). In other words the workers don’t get credit for that donation. Here, any small amount is welcome for donation, because change adds up. It makes speaking with these individuals far more pleasant and I feel more obliged to give since I don’t feel like I am being given a sales pitch or pressured into offering more money than I can afford to donate.

It is an admiral aspect in a nation that has its own history of financial and agricultural struggle.

Upon speaking with a woman working in a Trocaire center on Cook St. in Cork, she figured that it was perhaps the history of struggle that Ireland has had in itself that the people understand the need for outside help, someone who may themselves be struggling but still standing to come alongside those in need and provide them with just a little more than they had. Indeed, Ireland has known hardship and I have seen the effects run far and wide in this country, but instead of creating a callous, self-serving people it has grown a compassionate and concerned people who can recognize the needs of others and act on them. It is a trait I admire and hope to bring back to the states, making change important and creating a deeper awareness of the world at large. The heart of Ireland is compassionate and I intend to model my own heart, mind and action after this country’s giving and helping spirit.
---------------------
READ MORE:
More Gaelic Girls tales on IrishCentral

The most Irish town in America is named


Hell hath no fury like a golfer's wife scorned - PHOTO

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: