Apathy and Action

Written by Abriel Schieffelers

Maybe you’ve heard about Oasis through a friend, through the internet, or because you participated in a fundraiser or event we’ve had. But what can you do after simply “liking” our page? In the day and age of social media, we easily get caught up in “slacktivism,” we feel drawn to a cause or organization, but are too overwhelmed with the issue to do anything but read about the issue and show support on social media. All of us have been there. And in a way, that’s ok - because we all have to start somewhere.

But what now?

We often rationalize our “slacktivism” with excuses like “I’m too busy,” “I couldn’t ever (move to another country, work with people experiencing trauma, etc.),” “ I don’t have the skills needed to contribute,” “I don’t have the financial resources to contribute.” These might all be true to some extent, but the problem is that these excuses paralyze us. They prevent us from making a meaningful difference in the world by sidelining us due to our belief that our impact simply won’t be enough.

Here’s the truth - our impact will never be enough. There will always be people in every corner of the world experiencing war, hunger, trauma, and emotional distress. Jesus once said to his disciples, “the poor will always be with you.” Issues of global inequality have always been overwhelming to the helpers of this world, and will continue to be a mountain no one seems able to conquer. 

But that shouldn’t stop us from being who we were created to be - carers and cultivators of peace and goodness and life in this world. We have been given a choice between slacktivism and radical care. 

Here are some practical ways to get involved with Oasis Belgium. 

  1. Fundraise for us. Without the generous support of communities of carers, our projects would cease to exist. Some ways people have raised funds for us have been creative and fun. Student organizations have put on talent shows and given the proceeds towards our projects. We have donors who regularly run 5K’s and marathons to raise money for us. Schools have raised money for us. No amount of money is too small to make a difference!
  2. Volunteer with us. Many of our most dedicated volunteers are mothers who have taken on volunteering with us while their children are in school. Others come for a summer or short internship and become part of our outreach team. Still others have offered talents in grant writing, making gift bags, and event planning and are vital to the success of our projects. 
  3. Pray with us. We have a group of passionate people committed to praying for the work of Oasis. Send an email to abriel.schieffelers@oasisbe.org and we will update you with prayer requests and daily devotionals written by a member of our team.
  4. Educate for us. We work with churches and schools to educate our communities about violence against women, human trafficking, and other vulnerable communities. We would love to partner with your community to bring awareness of these issues.
  5. Encourage us. As anyone who has worked with people in difficult situations can attest, caring can take an emotional toll on members of the Oasis Belgium team. We are greatly encouraged by members of our community who have befriended our interns, invited us into our homes for lunch between visits, and encouraged us with words and actions. We can’t do what we do without a vibrant and faithful network of people from all backgrounds, faiths, and professions. 

At the end of the day, we’re about relationships. The precious relationship between a mother working in Belgium to send back money to her children in Asia. The relationship between a family struggling to make ends meet in a country where they are named Illegal. The relationship between our team and a woman who finally believes she is worth more than the bruises her abusive husband has given her. The relationship between generous donors and the joy of a woman returned home to her family after years of exploitation. Elisabeth T. Vasko, who wrote the book “Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders,” writes that “to be a human is to be a person in relation.” And it is a challenge to us all to embody our common humanity by claiming our relation to one another and choosing to love.