Last Sunday, Alpha Rwirangira the Tusker Project Fame 3 winner, donated foodstuff and other goodies to orphans worth 300,000 francs and a 200,000 frw cheque to the orphans with a pledge to open a bank account for the group.
Accompanied by a Rwandan beauty pageant Cynthia Akazuaba, the reigning Miss East Africa, the group was entertained, sang and danced with the home stars. This was an act of charity and love.
The soft-spoken Alpha during the occasion said that he was happy to share what God has given him with the less fortunate in society saying “it is not enough for us to sleep in comfortable beds eat well and forget the vulnerable”.
It is my hope that Alpha will open an account for the group as a way to elicit other donors. When it is done I pledge 50 USD.
Two days earlier on Christmas day, I had bumped into an old acquaintance, commonly known as Shangazi Rugina by Contact FM radio staff and fans in a Kimironko restaurant, surrounded with a group of youth sipping what in south Africa are called ‘cold drinks’ in reference to soft drinks (incidentally, in that country even a bribe is called a cold drink).
From our old days in Mombasa, I was certain those were not Betty’s biological children as he would confirm later, “I invited these orphans living in child in headed households home for Christmas lunch and prayers.
I usually do this to make them feel they are not alone, from my little means.” After the sumptuous lunch they came out for a drink.
The two cases above demonstrate a point: Charity is not a preserve of the rich and it is an act of social responsibly. Shangazi Rugina is woman of humble means but what she did or does demonstrates that in our small ways we can help the needy in material terms and in kind.
A research done in the USA showed that the poorest fifth Americans give away in charity 4.3% of their incomes while the wealthiest gave away 2.1%.
That the beauty queen Akazuba graced the occasion of Alpha’s donation and participated in the celebration meant a lot to the group. It was a great honour.
Her success and words of comfort a source of hope and inspiration. The youthful stars teach us a lesson on social responsibility on which those who are yet to make New Year resolutions can draw.
The theory of social responsibility is an ethical one where any entity, government, corporate, or individual has a responsibility to society.
In the area of the media in Rwanda social responsibility has been a subject of many conferences, debates, workshops and public debate on I which I wish to add my voice.
A section of the media has of recent, in total disregard of media ethics,embarked on a project to defame prominent members of our society. The newspapers have been fined for the offenses but court justice does not heal the wounds inflicted by fefamation.
I was particularly upset by the method of reporting sex scandals. Such scandals affect not only the individual personas in the drama, but also the family usually consisting children, so the journalist should not be attracted by the potential sensationalism that will sell his paper, but stick to principles journalism.
If none of the parties complains, fare play demands collaborating the source of information, which may be premised on malice, with rebuttals from the accused.
But the big question here, is it in public interest? News organization should be guided by professional canons which include, objectivity, impartiality, accuracy, truthfulness, public accountability and fairness for as is commonly said “every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on” , and appropriately use the principle of “limitation of harm”.
When I was studying educational management in mid 1970s, my professor said people are not stones, you don’t just move them.
What he meant is that if you are in a position of leadership, you have to view the staff under you as individual human beings, so that even in the interests of corporate performance you don’t just throw them away.
Consider the example of Francis Nkunda (not real name).He left Rwanda in 1960 after working as a medical assistant for close to three years, came back in 1994 got employed by Ministry of Health and served, but nine months before he completed the 15 year service, he was retired even before the age of 65.
If he had been allowed to complete the 15 years, he would be entitled to his monthly pension to see him through his remaining years.
A number of university lecturers were forced into retirement yet some older foreign professors were recruited. The ministry concerned should view social responsibility in that light.
In a recent public service reform, many people lost jobs, ostensibly because their performance fell below required standards, but to some observers, the elderly, most of them younger than me were eased, out qualification, experience not withstanding.
Earlier I mentioned that I was undergraduate in 1970s, but I am strong, in full control of my faculties. I don’t see why my children, even grandchildren, should be deprived of a bread winner because of social irresponsibility or is it ageism!