Although Webster Dictionary asserts the “assistencialism” is not a word, I believe knowledge of the word is critical in discussions of liberation, colonization, community organizing, and privilege.
Paulo Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness asserts that assistencialism “treats the recipient as a passive object, incapable of participating in the process of his own recuperation.”
This action is essentially robbing agency from the community that you are trying to help — an all too familiar story in the history of American humanitarian aid. Remember that the community needs to be in control and dictate their own needs. We are only there to help “serve the people.”