Inspired. Entertained. Treated. Sponsoring.

Last night, I had a rare Girls’ Night Out evening. Two friends invited me for a ‘girls’ evening’. I don’t normally do ‘girls’ things on a big scale. Socially, I’m comfortable with no more than 3 girls.  A social Girls’ Night Out involves hundreds of women. It was a scary thought. My friend bought me the ticket, so, to improve my social skill and to expose myself to new challenging environments, I gave it a go.

I told my friend that I was worried about ‘girls’ thing, but she joked that I was becoming a grumpy old woman.

The event was held by World Vision. It’s a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.

The Girls’ Night Out event promised that we would be inspired by Carrie Grant (a celebrity), be entertained by Jo Enright (a comedian), and be treated with goodies and delicious sweets. As Jo Enright was ill, Carrie Grant’s husband, David Grant (also a celebrity), took her place and entertained the audience with an engaging sing a long choir session.

My goodies (For non native speakers, goodies are free gifts normally put in a bag called a ‘goodie’ bag’) are chocolate, B. Ready day cream, No.7 eye make-up remover, a mirror, a cucumber peel off mask, peppermint tea. On the night, there were also three prizes to be won.

During the break time, we had free drinks, and beautifully decorated cupcakes by the Little Cupcake company.

It’s all new and interesting to me. I’ve never been to any red-carpet event, and this event was the closest I was ever remotely linked with ‘celebrities’ — glamorous people you hear and see on the television. However, as I’m not a keen follower of the pop culture, I’d never heard of the names of these celebrities. It was a bit embarrassing for me.

The talk was interesting, honest, littered with jokes. Carrie was a talented speaker, and she also performed a few songs and played the keyboard and guitar.

Image by Glasgow Amateur via Flickr

Image by Glasgow Amateur via Flickr

The ultimate goal of the event was sponsorship. We were encouraged to sponsor children from the poorest countries in the world.

Everyone was given a unique, beautifully printed Child Sponsorship card. The card contains the basic biography of a named child with his photograph on the front cover. We were encouraged to sponsor a child — currently £22.80 a month. However, we all have a choice.

If you don’t want to sponsor a particular child, whose card is in your hands, you could swap the card with others. You could specify the sex, age, country of a child that you want to sponsor. On the table, tens of sponsorship cards were on display. Each card has a different child on the cover. You choose. It’s a bit like shopping.

Once you’ve sponsored a child, you get to receive regular updates of the child, and you could even fly to visit your sponsored child.

Child Sponsorship is positive and honourable. I had an interesting evening. I had 2 cupcakes. However, I found it mentally difficult pondering about child suffering and world poverty in a glamorous setting — a modern church with excellent facility, while being pampered with goodies, cupcakes and drinks, and was entertained by celebrities with songs. I was touched by some of the stories that I heard on the night. However, I’m trying to work out why I felt somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps the dichotomy of indulgence (goodies and cupcakes) and poverty was too great. Perhaps I found the fact that you could select a specific child to sponsor too ‘commercialised’. I was also trying to study the psychology of people who sponsored.

I had an interesting night out. It was fun, but I also had some questions. My friend asked why I couldn’t simply relax and have fun?

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14 thoughts on “Inspired. Entertained. Treated. Sponsoring.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      I was also wondering why it was not a fund-raising event for men and women. I’m not used to the business world, but I presume the strategy was based on marketing. I think it’s believed that women have a lot of compassion (and women should rule the world), and they would love to bond with their ‘sisters’, and more importantly, they deserve to be pampered (goodies and cupcakes and entertainment). To put all these together, women would feel unique, empowered, entertained and then they could change the world.

      Reply
  1. The Laughing Housewife

    You and your friend are both right: the money spent on the night would have been better spent on the children BUT, having agreed to go, you should have relaxed and enjoyed it, or why bother?

    The problem is, people are inherently selfish and/or lazy. We mean to sign up for these things and never get around to it. I suspect the organisers take the attitude that you have to speculate to accumulate.

    Reply
  2. Janet Williams Post author

    The event was unusual for me. I had a fun night — singalong with a celebrity (the song ‘Let it be’) and hundreds of women was quite fun, and energising.

    I think the evening did inspire people, and improve awareness — it must be a positive thing. But, I also have some thoughts about certain aspects of an event like this. Perhaps I should write my part 2.

    I agree what you said, “… you have to speculate to accumulate.”

    Reply
  3. Ruby

    And when you said a “girl’s night out” I thought you’d been to see The Chippendales.

    If the event cost (say) £20 per person, and 1 in 10 sign up to sponsor a child, at £22 per month it won’t take long to recoup the investment.

    My own moral dilemma with this sort of thing is: how close is it to emotional blackmail?

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      I’ve just asked my husband what The Chippendales means — a play, a comedy, a place up north?

      He answered, “Male strippers!”

      How many years have I learnt English? I haven’t come across this term, and it sounds so posh. However, I did watch The Full Monty.

      Reply
    2. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Ruby,

      The ticket was only £5 (or £7 at the door).

      I avoided using the term – emotional blackmail, in my post, though it somehow it made me feel that way. Charity is a very competitive market, so it’s not difficult to understand why people are doing everything they can compassionately to try to win your heart, in the form of entertainment, inspirational talk, videos filmed in the poorest villages, and goodies. These days, walking down the high street, I’m often confronted by fund-raisers too. There are so many good causes, so many charities, so many choices to make. Therefore I need to pause and think.

      Reply
      1. Ruby

        I’m not saying it is emotional blackmail, but it is a moot point (that word moot again!).
        I agree that it is a problem for charities: they need money, but there is only so much charitable giving around. Charities need to use whatever methods work best for them in order to maximise their share of the “pot”. That was a fairly simplistic view by the way.

  4. JoV

    I will probably be like you. Thinking too much about things and cannot relax. The commercialisation of picking a kid to sponsor and the organisation of such charity makes me wonder as well.

    Reply
  5. restlessjo

    Stopping by to say hi from the north east of England (via Tilly Bud). I kind of came looking for origami, Janet, but sidelined into this instead. I have regular girls nights, where we cook for each other (nightmare!) and sponsor a child too, so it all married together well anyway.
    Have a ball with Tilly. 🙂

    Reply
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