Preying on love and generosity of others

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

It’s a tragedy when people prey on the generosity and the good-hearted nature of others. 

While it’s something we’d like not to happen, the reality is that it happens all the time. In some cases, it is very blunt too.

A classic example surfaced towards the end of last week when it emerged that some members of the public were moving to sell water tanks donated to them as part of charity.

The development is extremely disturbing.

So much so it has alarmed the management of the Civil Society Support Programme (C.S.S.P.) that the Project Manager, Theresa Masoe Taimalelagi, has publically pleaded with people they cannot sell the water tanks for a profit.

Interestingly enough, the appeal followed the offer by one family to sell one C.S.S.P-funded 5,000litres tank for $1,200.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well two blatantly obvious facts. The first is that this family did not spend a single sene to earn this water tank. And because they got it for free, they therefore have absolutely no idea how much it is worth. A 5,000 litre water tank in Samoa is worth a lot more than $1,200. 

Now since the story surfaced, some people have argued that since the tanks were donated, families should be able to do whatever they want with them.

Besides, they claim there are no laws to stop them from doing whatever they wish to – including selling them.

Technically they are correct to an extent. 

But we disagree. Consciously it is the wrong thing to do for a very simple reason. These water tanks – or anything else donated as part of charity – were given based on a need, which in this case it is water.

There are many people out who need such help. All you have to do is read the Village Voice section of this newspaper to know how much people would love to have a free water tank. 

And yet if certain recipients, who were given them for one reason or another, are allowed to do whatever they want, including selling these gifts for a profit, what message are we sending out to people? And can you honestly tell me that is the right thing to do? 

We doubt it.

Now according to Mrs. Taimalelagi, their help is designed for vulnerable families. And because they are genuine in their motives, they believe people should also be genuine in accepting and the use of such gifts.

“There are no set guidelines indicating that families cannot sell the water tanks,” she said. “However this is where common sense is applied and it goes without saying that water tanks should not be sold. 

“The water tanks projects are for vulnerable families and are handed over to the village after the implementation of the programme.”

Mrs. Taumalelagi goes on to explain that there are times when people’s circumstances change. 

“It’s understandable that in Samoa, families move around and they can take the water tank with them,” she said. “But to sell something that you did not purchase, it is not right.” 

She couldn’t have worded it better. 

If anything, this is exactly what we mean when we say some people prey on the generosity and good-hearted nature of others to help.

What do you think?

Have a wonderful week Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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