I know that Brandeis and Harvard have a long-enduring rivalry for who can out-social justice the other, but I still think that we should acknowledge achievements on either side.
With that being said, my childhood friend Paolo Singer goes to the dreaded H-name school, and he volunteered at a nonprofit NGO in South Africa this summer, assisting them in determining what effect they were having on the country and how best to help the people. He wrote a really amazing article about it, detailing the ethnographic and sociological work he did while there, his conclusion being (if I must sum it up) that after 8 years of funding programs and building libraries, schools, soccer fields for the native South African villagers, ThinkImpact, the nonprofit he worked for, realized that it wasn’t doing any substantial good. Rather, Paolo asserts that the best way to help the people is to encourage them to come up with their own ideas for how to enrich the community, and then assist them in the development of those projects.
Although many have come to this conclusion before, I think there’s something really inspirational about a college sophomore articulating his first-hand experience of finding this out on his own in a foreign country where he did not speak the language. Please read and find out for yourself: