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Archive for the ‘extreme poverty’ Category

Jeromy, MonachusBellator, and I all got together yesterday with our families for the first of three meetings we are having around Advent Conspiracy.  We’re looking at how we can redeem the way we participate in Christmas.  Americans alone spend 540 billion on Christmas and the worlds clean water problem could be solved for 10 billion.  Something’s wrong there and we’re just not happy about it.

And during our meeting my wife pulled out a catalog from Samaritans Purse, an organization that is really being creative in ways of supporting third world problems.  Families can purchase real tangible needs for families in poverty.

$100 – One Emergency Shelter

$750 – One Well

$7,500 – One House

$20,000 – One School

$25,000 – One Medical Hospital

$75,000 – One Church Building

To steal a line from Jeromy, “What is wrong with this picture?”

Why would a church cost three times as much as a hospital?  Why would it cost almost four times as much as a school and ten times as much as a house.  We’re talking walls and a roof here.  Why not build an outdoor amphitheater with a tent, or as Jeromy said build ten houses and teach people the priesthood of all believers. I couldn’t help wonder if we’re teaching third world countries the same expectations that we have about our concept of church.

And I couldn’t help wonder which one of these items Jesus would have chosen.  I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

But I just don’t get it.

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Believe it or not, only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates, going back to Kennedy-Nixon in 1960. That’s less than 1% of all questions asked.

You can help change that.  One is launching a new campaign to get “Just ONE Question” about the fight against global poverty asked at the 2008 presidential debates.  If you would like to help, and I would encourage you to help, please follow the link and sign the petition.

This is your opportunity to take a small step that would have huge repercussions.

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I’m not naive enough to think I can change the lives of a billion people, but I can be a small part of a large group of people attempting to address the issue.

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I wrote this post a year and a half ago when I first started blogging. I’m reposting it as a follow on to today’s earlier post. One is still the best campaign out there for fighting poverty.

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Yesterday I was in line to get a cup of coffee and I saw a man with a bunch of rubber bracelets. You know the kind Lance Armstrong started with his Livestrong campaign. I thought Livestrong was a brilliant idea. Then everyone had them. They were everywhere, which is simply a testimony to how great the idea was.

I even got one. It said “courage” on it. I actually got it from Taco Bell for 25 cents from a vending machine. My son, who is four always gets two quarters when we go to Taco Bell and he didn’t have a clue what it was. He just knew it wasn’t the Ninja guy he wanted. So he gave it to me. I wore it for a while because I like what it meant. I liked being reminded of the idea of courage. Unfortunately it was cheap (what do you expect for a quarter) and broke after about a month. I threw it away and didn’t think about it for a while.

And then a good friend of mine gave me a ONE bracelet. I believe in the One Campaign and what they are doing for social justice and fighting poverty. The ONE bracelets are made really well and they are white. I put it on and that was that.

So yesterday when I saw this guy in line I began to think of why I wear the bracelet. It has now been over 9 months that I’ve had it on and I have thought about the question before. Did I wear it because I wanted to make people aware of ONE.org? Yeah, a little. Did I wear it because it makes a cool statement about who I am? Not really. Did I wear it because it looks cool and everyone is doing it? No.

I wear it because it reminds me that we are part of the human race. We are God’s creation first, connected together. I am called to love and be loved in community. The bracelet reminds me of that. It reminds me to remember those less fortunate than myself. It reminds me to love my neighbor and to be part of the solution.

That’s why I wear the bracelet.

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This is a letter I received from Oxfam President Raymond Offenheiser. Maybe this is our opportunity to experience loving someone.

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Darfur has been on our minds for far too long.

Despite the world’s attention, the situation continues to deteriorate. Violence is mounting, making relief work more dangerous, and the sheer scale of the crisis is almost incomprehensible – four million people now rely on outside aid.

But Oxfam’s help is getting through. We are assisting 530,000 people, providing vital clean water, building latrines, and distributing water buckets, soap, ground sheets and blankets. Your immediate support will enable us to meet the growing challenges in Darfur and Chad.

Click here to make a donation and allow us to step up our response to the Darfur crisis.

I want to give you a picture of what’s happening on the ground, where Oxfam’s relief teams are struggling against violence to provide immediate aid.

Darfur has become more lawless and volatile than ever. In the first two months of 2007, more than 80,000 more people fled the ongoing violence. Many of these people have had to flee for the second, third or even fourth time as they desperately seek refuge and protection.

Humanitarian workers and operations are being targeted on an almost daily basis. Vehicles are being hijacked and robbed; staff assaulted and intimidated while carrying out their work; and offices broken into and looted.

Oxfam is one of the few aid agencies working in all three states in Darfur and in neighboring Chad. The violence means we need your help more than ever – you can still make a difference.

And in addition to providing immediate lifesaving supplies like water and shelter, Oxfam is there for the long haul. Our hygiene education and mosquito spraying programs are helping prevent the spread of disease in the crowded camps, and we are introducing new stove technology that is reducing the time women need to spend at the dangerous task of gathering wood. Meanwhile, we are advocating for increased pressure on all parties to the conflict to stop attacks on civilians, stop targeting humanitarian workers and operations, and make meaningful efforts to return to the political process.

Much has been given, but much more is needed. You can help. The more donations we receive, the stronger our ability to bring aid to the innocent people who desperately need it.

Please donate to the Sudan Crisis Relief and Rehabilitation Fund now.

We can’t forget our promises to the people of Darfur. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

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One works

For those of you who follow One.org and the action that they help facilitate, and for those who don’t, we’re making a difference. Here’s an update from Ginny on critical funding for poverty relief.

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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives just voted 286-140 to pass the 2007 continuing resolution!!

If the bill also passes in the Senate before Feb. 14 then instead of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and refugee programs receiving no increases from 2006 to 2007, they will receive an increase of $1.45 billion. The difference will add up to hundreds of thousands of lives.

Thank you to those in the House who voted to fully fund the programs that are working to end extreme poverty. We’ll post their names here shortly.

Virginia Simmons
Online Organizing Coordinator
The ONE Campaign

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