By Trifun Kostovski
Every community can only survive and develop if it has a strong sense of reciprocity, gift, support, solidarity, empathy. A community that lacks such attributes, I think, is doomed to failure. That is why, I think, we need to talk more and more about the philanthropic culture that does not only “enrich” the one to whom it is given, but “enriches” the one who gives it. The culture of giving is the only thread that can save this devalued and alienated world.
Each of us should contribute to building a healthy, functional society that rests on strong value verticals and fair ethical codes. I am one of those who respect deeds more than words and promises.
And that is why I would like to talk about these topics from personal experience and the relationship to the wider community. As my motto has always been based on the principles of sharing. I find personal joy to be meaningless if it is not shared. Hence my attitudes in my family as well. Many of you are familiar with the philanthropic tradition and culture of my family. We strongly advocate for ultimate solidarity and community support.
We know that if we do not have value verticals and a community attitude within the family, then we cannot expect it from the wider society. These days my daughter Olga Kostovska has shown exactly this. For third year in a row, she has asked her friends not for gifts, but for financial means, each to the extent possible, which she further donates to certain institutions that strive with their dignified and professional maintenance. This year, donations raised as part of her birthday celebration will be invested in repairing the ruined access porch and staircase leading to the Museum of Contemporary Art, where her patron role is already traditional and strategically determined.
Also the company she runs, Eurolink, has developed a high social responsibility – as their priority donations they have scholarships for the students of the Faculty of Law “Justinian Prima” at the University of Cyril and Methodius, as well as donations to the pulmonology department in Kozle and other clearly defined donor lines.
My satisfaction with this consequently elaborated structure of social responsibility has no limits. Such gestures of my family have prompted me to think how many of us in Macedonia are ready to share something with our fellow citizens. With some exceptions, I can freely conclude that the sense of giving has not yet developed in our country. Especially those who have the financial capacity to allocate part of their capital which will help the whole community.
I wonder how to educate all those who can be socially responsible and responsive to ever-increasing needs that lack man for a dignified and modern articulation of his daily life.
The government’s policy of tax relief on donations did not work. What does that mean? Before answering, I would like to return to a wonderful interview with the current Governor of the National Bank Angelovska Bezoska, which reinforced my beliefs that the problem lies with the education system itself. It drives me to think more deeply about what kind of education we have. And more importantly, how to encourage proper educational development. How to inspire the younger generation through the knowledge of the world to think about how communities are created and nurtured. How to realize that responsibility is not a particular gesture, it does not end in personal relationships, but rather in the wider social context.
Many who do not know me will comment on this text in a negative connotation – “he has, so he gives”. But I would like to clear that prejudice – the real success comes with hard work and self-investment, constant self-examination, critical looking inward and seeking answers to questions about how I can be better, more responsible, more empathetic to family, friends and the society.
I would like to send a message to those who can help with small things, be encouraged and open to philanthropic culture. Small donations will not deplete them. Rather, they enrich the spirit and the way of life. Giving is the noblest thing which is a great pleasure, but also an obligation.
Lastly, I want to point out to you all: since there are no rules on how to get to the top, my advice is to arm ourselves with knowledge that will articulate to us the high ethical coefficient and the principle of creating solidarity because only such communities can last to survive.
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