Social Capital and Generosity
There is a saying ‘Some people are so poor, all they have is money’.
As we enter the Christmas period it is good to reflect on the importance of the people around us and note the affection, support and care we provide each other. Development workers and economists call this ‘Social Capital’ and describe it as the wealth we receive from our social interactions: the relationships we trust, the people we co-operate with and the reciprocal favours we provide.
In Uganda, where most families we support have little financial wealth, we observe they belong to extensive networks of family and friends who prioritise community participation in order to be there for each other in times of difficulty. This was embodied on one of our trips when we asked an old man how many grandchildren he had. The answer was “between 20 and 30”. No exact figure was given because so many children had been welcomed into his family network as crisis hit their own. There was no formal adoption, no paperwork, just an acceptance that community works best when there is generosity, and that generosity extends to raising someone else’s child.
The children who HUGS sponsor benefit from the generosity of our donors. We use money because that’s transferable across 6500 miles but this only happens because HUGS is a charity which is entwined with social networks within Uganda. We respond to the calls of our trusted representatives and facilitate teachers, carers, mothers to help each other.
Please take a look at our current fund raiser, the HUGS Christmas Craft and Gift Auction. This year we have included many items made by people in Uganda at a range of prices which acknowledges that many people in the UK currently face financial constraints. Every penny we raise will help primary aged children at the Little Shepherd School.
Thank you for being a vital part of our social network. You offer us your social capital, and we, in turn share this with vulnerable children in Uganda.