The largest problems in the world do not have simple solutions. However, we live in a world of instant gratification and synecdoches, whereas we process the majority of our information in summaries and tag lines. This is often especially true with philanthropy: We want simple, direct altruism, where we can throw money at a problem and know how it's being used in 10 words or less. This is where the great American conundrum of altruism is found: How can we make any significant progress very complex international problems when we require simple and direct solutions to feel morally gratified? Too often I feel that non-profits must distill their approach to a crisis in order to attract donors, and as a result the solutions become minute and vapid. Enter Arts Education International, the very definition of macro-solution. Food packages and clean water solve much of the basic needs in terms of pure survivalism. But how does one approach the larger, more abstract crises of the world,such the trauma of civil war and the preservation of the arts? Arts Education International provides emotional rehabilitation and comfort to children who have little other comfort or joy in their lives. By hiring indigenous artists for their programs, AEI helps to facilitate the arts, provide creative output for traumatized children, teach them to sustain themselves by producing and selling crafts, facilitating arts education, and providing jobs for artists, dancers, and musicians. Sarah Geller has assembled and trained some of the most talented dancers, musicians, and artists I've ever seen associated with an education-based non-profit organization. If you have not seen their videos I highly recommend them to get a true impression of what they are doing right now.
When I donate to non-profits, I oftentimes find myself worrying if my donation could have helped those in need more if I gave it to a different organization. I have never had that worry about AEI. Sarah Geller and her group really organize exceptional programs that emotionally rehabilitate those who need it most. This is more than evident in her work with the Vision Stars, a group of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone who record dance and hip hop music with the support of Arts Education International. It oftentimes makes me wonder why there aren't any other organizations focused on emotional rehabilitation through the arts. It is my intention to continue donating to Arts Education International and continue to check their website for updates.
I have been supporting this organization for several years and have been impressed by its maturing effectiveness. It has expanded its highly successful model of utilizing/supporting indigenous artists to achieve its highly laudable goals in a variety of troubled venues. The organization is efficiently run and enjoys unblemished reviews from all who have interacted with it. I recommend your long term support.