Latest update March 26th, 2023 12:59 AM
Feb 04, 2023 Letters
I write to commend businesses, organizations, and individuals who go out of their way to help the less fortunate, and those in distress, while also simultaneously appeal to other businesses to give to worthwhile causes. The act of the wealthy and businesses giving assistance to others is called social entrepreneurship or corporate social responsibility, or philanthropy, and regrettably only a small percentage of Guyanese businesses and individuals engage in the practice.
In Indian culture, it is called daan— meaning to give freely and generously to charities and other worthwhile causes. The less wealthy sections of the society seemingly give more daan than the wealthier sections as per conversations with many individuals from all strata of society. Some of the businesses and individuals who practice social responsibility are kinder, gentler, and more altruistic and helpful than others. And there are wealthy businesses (persons) who do not engage in any charitable giving — a higher percentage than those who give. The less wealthy tend to be more generous than the giant businesses. Smaller businesses (persons) tend to be more generous than larger ones. Several of the larger businesses are the epitome of selfishness, and there are quite a number among the business class in the country. In fact, based on empirical evidence of efforts to garner assistance for benevolent causes, over half of large businesses don’t give to charitable causes. The lower income people are freer handed in helping the less fortunate. And if you talk to the public, they will tell you the names of the meanest and stingiest businesspersons in their neighborhoods. ‘Dem na give even a lemonade to the poor.’
It is not easy to induce wealthy businesspeople to share a little of their wealth to charity or to the poor. As an illustration, I tried in vain to get some businesses and wealthy to give to the worthwhile cause of aiding a Mandir. They are only interested in earning or exploiting, not helping people to lift their lives, or plowing some profits into their purchasers as a thank you measure.
Just last week, I went around to some wealthy businesses to plead a case to assist a Mandir in dire need in a very depressed neighbourhood in Region 3. Of twelve very wealthy businesses I approached to assist the collapsed temple, only three (all from the Corentyne) gave assistance in kind (meaning food materials) for the proposed opening of the mandir — five wholesalers of food in G’town would not even contribute potatoes or dhal or channa or any food items for the mandir opening on Feb 19. All of them are Hindus. A Muslim businessman not in the food business has expressed his willingness to contribute to the project. Two businesses gave cash for the building construction fund. Two other businesses, not in the food business, made a pledge and expected to deliver soon. A small businessperson from Canada, based in Bel Air, who is only now starting out his business, and who seeks no mention of his contribution, committed to donate food materials without even being asked; he understands the concept of daan and the need of giving and of aiding the poor. No other individual has come forward to assist the worthy Mandir project although it was brought to the attention of many prominent and wealthy individuals. Government officials also have not helped in their private capacity. The President pledged his personal contributions, not from the state, for a project related to the Mandir. It is hoped government officials will contribute in kind.
Societal giving or social entrepreneurialism is a wise business model. It wins over hearts and minds and grows a business. Very few companies understand this business model. Mohamed Enterprises, Nand Persaud, Queens Atlantic, among a few others, are very generous social entrepreneurs. They ought to be commended. More companies should follow in their footsteps. I would like to thank those who contributed funds and or materials to the Mandir and other worthwhile projects. Those giant, most profitable businesses who don’t have a corporate social responsibility ethos should be exposed and blanked by the public.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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