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Help and do no harm. Interview with Svetlana Serbina, Vice President of the International Solidarity Foundation


Doing good things can sometimes be dangerous. This is especially true for the New Year period, when tons of chocolates and other goodies come from children's sponsors. The logic is simple: children love sweet. However, the topic of responsible patronage has been increasingly raised recently. It's that sweets do not always benefit, as philanthropists seem.

"People seem to pursue a sincere purpose - to bring joy to children, but as practice shows, we do not get the positive change in the fate of the children we hoped for," says Svetlana Serbina, Vice President of the International Charitable Foundation Alexander Petrovsky. - Previously, the topic of responsible patronage was somehow embarrassed to be discussed. But this year, this topic is getting wider coverage, in particular, in social networks, articles are written. I advise you to gain patience and to understand what is meant by the term "responsible patronage".

Svetlana assures that no one refuses to do good deeds, but if you feel such a call, then do it so that this good will really benefit and not be wasteful. This is the same purchase of sweets at boarding schools. Why is it dangerous?

"First, it's ordinary physiology. It is harmful for young children to eat lots of candy; they do not control the consumption process. There are candies - so you have to eat. And none of the children thinks that then it can be bad for them, because the child's psyche is so arranged - explains Svetlana Serbina. - Secondly, the most terrible thing is that we instill in the children of kindergartens the psychology of consumerism through good deeds. We teach orphans to "give-serve", form, so to speak, new members of the consumer society.
The Vice President of the Charity Fund emphasizes that help is important and necessary. However, the same money you plan to spend on orphan candy can be spent with greater benefit for themselves. For example, to pay for dental services, because many babies now have problems with their teeth. Or invite a speech therapist and pay a month's rate for a child who has a problem with pronunciation.

Svetlana Serbina urges, before helping, to think about whether this help will come out in 5-10 years. And only then - to act.