The reality television shows I enjoy have tended to have been ones that involve a real skill such as Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance or Top Chef. These shows do have a real impact on the lives of those who enter but none more so than The Secret Millionaire, which I recently got into. The show started in 2006 on Channel 4 (UK), and has also had four seasons in the UK and one season in the US and Australia.
Essentially, a millionaire goes into a community (undercover as just another person) for 10 days and identifies people and projects they feel deserve assistance. In the UK, the millionaires have given away over £1 million to community centres, homes for disabled, support groups, individual families, etc and some continue to give after the show ended.
This weekend, I caught an episode (How The Secret Millionaire Changed My Life) where they went back after a year to check on the millionaires and found that many of them were still very involved in the communities they had been in. It just reminded me how each of us is in a position to contribute to making the lives of our fellow beings a little easier, whether it is through money or our time. It is interesting to see where some of the people are and there is some controversy around individuals like Chek Whyte, who was declared bankrupt last year.
What interests me most is the premise behind the show which, for me, is creating a culture of giving, a culture of staying in touch and in tune with the fact that many of us have much to be grateful for and can do something. Africa does have millionaires. Are they actively helping those in real need? However small, I sincerely believe every little bit helps.