Spear’s has produced a supplement called Asian Philanthtopy Today, distributed with Spear’s and Spear’s Asia, which covers some of the exciting and important projects major charities are working on. To read the full supplement, click here
In 1900, there weren’t quite two billion people in the world. Today, China and India between them have 2.5 billion, and Asia as a whole has over four billion. Bangladesh has nearly a thousand people per square kilometre (Britain has 250; America, 32).
In countries with so many people so pushed together, problems can exist on scales far greater than we are used to. A natural disaster is magnified when it hits populous places. If a disease breaks out, living cheek by jowl means that it spreads more quickly.
The role of philanthropy in mitigating and alleviating the effects of these emergencies is obvious, but its use is not limited to crises. Despite heaving economic growth — and because of it too, in fact — social problems proliferate in countries from Iran to Indonesia. In this supplement, we hear from charities who are doing excellent work in all of these areas: the Charities Aid Foundation’s offers advisory services for Asian philanthropists; Oxfam provides humanitarian responses to crises; Christian Aid is supporting the revival of the silk industry in Afghanistan; WaterAid offers hygiene classes in Bangladesh to prevent diseases; and WomanKind supports Nepali women who have suffered abuse. With your support, they can increase the number of people they help, and improve the quality of many more lives.
There is good evidence for a vibrant and varied culture of philanthropy within Asia already. In the World Giving Index 2011, produced by the Charities Aid Foundation, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos were in the top ten most generous countries. Southern Asia as a whole increased its giving in 2010 by almost a third. Added to this are some noteworthy individual philanthropists: in China, Wang Jianlin gave $200 million in 2010, while Indonesian Chairul Tanjung has promised $100 million over five years to fight poverty and illiteracy.
The New Yorker has in the past year profiled two Indian philanthrocapitalists striving to do what the government cannot: Nandan Nilekani is developing a national ID database to ensure that no-one is invisible in India, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the country’s wealthiest self-made woman, is trying to reform healthcare by funding hospitals and clinics, and by launching a health-monitoring network and a micro-insurance scheme. Every facet of philanthropy in Asia is exciting.
So, this is not an imperious appeal to help the helpless of Asia — we hope no-one is that patronising any more. What this supplement says is that yes, there are problems, and yes, you can do something about it, and if you do, you will be contributing to the health, safety and prosperity of four billion people.