Charity Versus Sustainability
There is a lot of talk these days about “social impact”, and “social entrepreneurship” going around. Buy a pair of shoes, and a needy child somewhere receives a pair. Buy an expensive shirt, and a percentage of the proceeds go to a certain cause or charity.
However, measuring social impact is far more complicated than handing out free mosquito nets and shoes.
Charity is necessary for times of extreme hardship and emergency relief. As the saying goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Charity will not, cannot, and frankly should not last long.
Charity does not bolster economies. Charity does not empower individuals by providing them with a career and upward mobility. Charity has the potential to quickly morph into dependency, and dependency has the dangerous potential to shackle a man into a state of complete and utter hopelessness. That’s where the concept of sustainability and sustainable businesses come in.
DTRT Apparel is not a charity, nor do we aim to be. We are a sustainable and competitive business that will continue to grow, bolster local economies in Ghana, and steadily provide men and women with careers and employment. Sustainability requires constant and strategic adaptation over time. To be a sustainable business does not only mean you must be a successful business, it means that you structure your business in a way that constantly evolves with the global market.
By creating and supporting sustainable business like Dignity/DTRT, we are able to bring Ghana and other developing regions around the globe up the value chain, to not only be successful, but to be competitive in the global marketplace.
DTRT Apparel, as a sustainable business and not as a charity, is able to create the opportunity for our workers to gain employment, take advantage of a career path, and be paid fairly and on time, all while being treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Painting a school with a fresh coat of paint, does not change the fact that the parents of that child cannot afford to pay for their child’s school fees in the first place. Giving a boy or girl a pair of shoes and not investing in businesses that will kick-start economic growth in his/her impoverished community, is setting up that child to face the same unfortunate circumstances of not being able to provide for his own children one day. Our employees’ children watch their parents wake up each day, head off to work, and return home with wages they earned themselves, thus instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment.
DTRT Apparel creates jobs that allow men and women to pay for their children’s school fees and shoes with their own hard-earned money, without dependence on charity.