Haiti after the earthquake, the UNICEF Tap project, Free Rice, the Ice Bucket Challenge. Any of these sound familiar to you? One day, not very long ago, you turned on your television, only to hear about how desperately in need others were. You, altruistically, left your phone unused to recollect clean water for those who lacked it or practiced math, even though you hate it, to collect rice bowls for others. Maybe you even camped with your friends to help raise awareness for child soldiers however, you have since forgotten. One day you were proudly wearing your Invisible Children shirt or sharing stories on Facebook about those brave Boston Marathon survivors yet, just a few days, or years in some cases, afterwards, you are even surprised to hear these movements are still going on.
It is natural for us to forget. The media pulls us in with its graphic videos and pictures and moves us to act. It strives and succeeds to create awareness in any way it can, not understanding that sometimes the approach can be very harmful to the cause. By talking about world events like they do, those unhappy occurrences turn into trends. Sadder still is the fact that, just like many of you left that Jonas Brothers shirt at the back of your closet once the euphoria passed, you also erased that cause you once felt so strongly about as soon as a new one came along. Now, I am in no way saying you should not do your best to help any and every way you can. The world needs help from those lucky enough in a position to give it but, if you truly feel so strongly towards something, why give up?
Did you know there is even a report out there to keep track of how many disasters are forgotten per decade? Even then, only a lucky few are chosen from that long list to receive enough sponsorship to even try and become known. I dare you to Google “forgotten crisis” and see what you find. Invisible Children has gone from being a once famous organization that probably even visited your school one day if you were lucky to having to completely eliminate the media part of their business from fund shortage, check their webpage if you are skeptical. Over 150,000 people in Haiti are still living in the shelters created after the earthquake stroke. How long has it been since you thought of them?
Right now, its Je suis Charlie. Tomorrow, who knows? The point is not to follow the newest tragedy as though it were Billboard´s hottest list. If you were once pulled towards a cause, this was because you felt connected. Open your phone again and help donate more water. Give away more food to those in need and keep track of that you feel strongly for. Collecting funds for organizations should not resemble a scholarship competition and anyone can be the person that changes it all because they still need you, even more than they did back then when you took that leftover canned food to the donation corner at your school. Research smaller causes that do not get as much attention and remember, it is not about being a trend follower, it is about helping those in need.