A long time ago, P.J. O’Rourke wrote in Parliament of Whores (probably the best book he ever wrote, and it’s been mostly downhill, albeit gradually, for him ever since) that “you can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.” And this has, for many policymakers, been an accepted truth for a very long time.
Parents are now able to pay tuition, and the proportion of children attending school rose to 92 percent last year. The school has used the additional revenue to buy paper, pens and ink for its printers. The rate of malnourishment among the children has plunged from 42 to 10 percent. The local police crime statistics show a decline in theft and poaching. People with AIDS are responding more effectively to treatment, now that their nutritional needs are being met more consistently. “Suddenly the children were wearing shoes,” says the teacher. A man went to see Dirk and Claudia Haarmann. Beaming from ear to ear, he asked: “Don’t you see?” They asked him what he meant. “Don’t you see? I now have trousers and a t-shirt. I am now a person.”