Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
The world’s largest environmental organization celebrates 4-year-olds as a fundraising mechanism.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are certain milestones that children aged 4 – 5 years can be expected to achieve. Among them:
In the world inhabited by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), however, a child’s fourth birthday is an opportunity to pay its own bills – to fundraise and then to brag about it.
Over at the WWF Canada blog, there’s a post with the following headline: For his 4th birthday, Quinn got the birthday gifts of his choosing, and WWF got $110!
It includes a photo of a dark-haired moppet. His birthday money ended up in the hands of the WWF via a program in which friends and family contribute cash “through the charitable giving website, Echoage” rather than buying a gift. Half the cash is used to purchase something for the child, the other half goes to a charity selected by the parents.
Goodness knows, it’s a free country. How people choose to celebrate their child’s special day is their own business. But let us dispense with the cutesy nonsense.
A youngster who is still learning to speak in complete sentences didn’t decide to give “a donation to WWF to support animals around the world.” It wasn’t his idea to do this rather than “simply asking for gifts for himself.”
The grownups made all of this happen. The grownups decided to donate $110 to the WWF rather than to, say, Orbis – a charity I personally support every month. It works to prevent blindness in regions of the world where vision care is scarce to non-existent.
A few weeks ago, I pointed out that the WWF is a huge organization that has feet on the ground in more than 100 countries. It runs 11 offices in Pakistan alone. As I observed then, that particular country is so underdeveloped that:
for every live 100,000 births – 260 women die of pregnancy-related complications. (By comparison, the maternal mortality rate in Canada and the UK is 12 women per 100,000.)
Twenty-two times as many women are dying unnecessarily there each and every year. Twenty-two times as many children are being left motherless. But the WWF thinks what Pakistan really needs is 11 offices aimed at saving animals.
The birthday blog post ends with the following:
Thank you, Quinn! Your donation and your help is greatly appreciated; by us here at WWF, and although they can’t say it in a blog, by the animals too. [backed up here]
I think I’ll go retch now.