ETHICAL APPROACH TO AIDING AND ASSISTING:
It is not the intention of Virtues First to change anyones way of life, but to work with them to help them make the changes they would choose for themselves. For example, in the image (right) you see Indian women cooking in a traditional way in a small enclosure without roof. Some people might like to give them chairs or tables, not understanding that these women are not likely to use them (although they might try to sell them). And even if they did, the chair might begin to weaken their back and knees (as is the case with most westerners over the age of 40) which can eventually make it difficult to squat (which is quite necessary when you don't have a "western toilet") So changing the old ways is not necessarily better in many cases. ...Nevertheless, when it rains these women have to take their cooking indoors which obviously creates lots of smoke in the house. This is not healthy for anyone! So in this case Virtues First could offer to put a covering over the cooking area - not enclosing it but just keeping the rain off of them and the food while they cook - while letting the smoke escape. So although you might want to build them a "better" more westernized kitchen, and bless your heart for offering, ultimately that sort of thing can get very complicated (and more costly). --->
Virtues First first looks for the greater need. Thus, we have many consultants who advise about these sorts of situations. For example, in regards to this uncovered kitchen situation, Jade DelRosario, a filipino woman who grew up in a poor small village of similar circumstances, said she used to cook the same way as the women pictured above. But her adamant advice to us was to not assume anything and simply "Ask the people what they need" before laying out plans for them. There are many reasons for this, including politeness, and also the fact that, like the chair example, they might not even use what is offered. But if you simply talk to the people they can tell you what is truly needed; which is usually the most urgent as well!