Sometimes good-intentioned charity can have negative consequences.
Wednesday night, Belmont students will get the chance to learn more about the hidden side to giving with a showing of the 2014 documentary “Poverty, Inc.”
Sophomores Clara Leonard, Lindsey Knapp and Suzanna Stapler organized the showing and accompanying panel after seeing the documentary at Blood:Water Mission. As soon as she saw the movie, Leonard realized it was something Belmont students should see because of its message on how helping can hurt, she said.
“I think that poverty is a serious issue in our world, and it’s not being addressed in the right ways currently because we’ve created a cycle of dependence instead of working to create independence. One of my favorite lines in the film is, ‘No one wants to be a beggar for life,’” Leonard said. “So why do many NGOs of today have the goal of providing for children in Africa for the rest of their lives? We should be helping them get off their feet, not keeping them on their knees.”
The panel afterward will add more context to the topics “Poverty, Inc.” puts forth, pulling from the collective knowledge of a group including political science professor Emily Blackledge, alumna Ashland Seay, health science professor Susan Taplin, finance professor John Gonas and director for the Belmont Center for Entrepreneurship Elizabeth Gortmaker.
The organizers hope the film and information presented in the panel will have a resounding effect on students and make room for new ideas and attitudes towards poverty, charity and helping others.
“The goal is to start a dialogue on campus about how we can create change in the poverty industry and hopefully to plant the seeds of future ideas for things students can accomplish when leaving Belmont in coming years,” Leonard said.
The event will be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the DAC large theater. There is no admission charge.