The Akha Heritage Foundation -
Akha Human Rights - Akha University

You may copy and save this document for later reading.
Please remember to do a site search for other related documents which may not be shown here.

Poverty and Religion

Why talk about religion if we don't talk about individual responsibility, which is the cornerstone of religion?

And why not talk about it in the specific, rather than the general?

For example, the culpability of missions.

Always people are searching for abstract answers to the obvious. KISS- Keep it simple, stupid!

In northern Thailand no one should speak of poverty of the hilltribes and religion without a strong rebuke for missions.

I have worked here ten years. The hilltribe people continue to slide into poverty while the INDIVIDUALS in the missions harvest every aspect of their lives, even their children.

The missions, which set themselves up as showboat operations dramatically resist being accountable for the cost to benefit rationale of their operations.

The total support of these people is in the millions of dollars which is spent on costly churches, costly missions, boarding schools that take away children, and pushing every Akha they can get their hands on away from their culture or separating them from it.

In Chiangrai and Chiangmai there are thousands of "removed" Akha children. The cost to board them, as compared to helping the entire village is much higher. But the agenda of the missions is not to alleviate poverty, contrary to what they would have people believe, but to gain and control converts and build the size of the mission base.

"Missionaries will be missionaries", seems to be the endless denial in the West.

But let us not go looking for causes of poverty and its solutions and then ignore the math of where the money IS ALREADY GOING!

It is a travesty. The missions have knowingly eaten all the money, living the good life, while these people slide into deeper and deeper poverty, the missions kindly blaming it on "their culture".

Interestingly, every single missionary here is very white, from the West.

When we ask a question, let us make sure we are willing to look at the obvious answers first.

Another point that must be made is that while millions are contributed to the mission organizations which are closest to the poverty and need, they seem to perpetuate it rather than bring about an end to it.

I would suggest that religion NEEDS poverty that it is in partnership with tragedy in the kind of sense that if you wait around WHILE tragedy is going on, or until it is going on, who can know that you do not cause it due to expectation?

If we apply the logic that if people EXPECT the good, then it will happen, then can not the same be said for missions which seem to wait for something, and since tragedy keeps coming, would seem they are waiting for tragedy?

Especially since there is proof that they have budgets that are not spent stopping tragedy.

Copyright 1991 - 2006 The Akha Heritage Foundation