Walk In Their Shoes

Outrage and despair – the reaction I get from my kids during a 10 minute car ride when they ask for a drink and we tell them that we forgot to bring their water bottles… A 10 minute car drive without a drink… How ever will they survive? If you are a parent, this may sound familiar.

Last weekend, my family and I joined about 40 other people from the Open Doors team, plus about 70 other teams from around the country, to ‘Walk To Water’.

opendoors-walktowater

On our way to the event, we were explaining to our kids why we were doing this… the concept of not having instant access to clean drinking water to a kid living in Sydney is almost unfathomable (note above!). Of course, kids are not the only ones ignorant or oblivious to this – we all take access to clean water for granted, it’s hard not to. Continue reading “Walk In Their Shoes”

The best use of God’s stuff

I’ve been reading the latest Compassion mag, and there was one story that I had to share – “The man with 50 kids”. Yep, this guy, David Chalmers, supports 50 children with Compassion! I don’t think this is God’s call on everyone, but his way of thinking is definitely a challenge to us all…

“Since embracing the reality that all I have belongs to God… I have chosen to live simply and am content…”

If you’re already a sponsor then it’s a challenge to take it seriously and be the best sponsor you can; and if you’re not sponsoring a kid… then it’s a challenge to look into child sponsroship, because as Compassion would say, and I totally agree with – ‘it works’.

“I think that as long as people have that mindset – we live for ourselves, we have to have this, we have to have that… then poverty will still exist.”

Continue reading “The best use of God’s stuff”

The poor don’t need charity

HOPEProbably not the title you expected to read on a blog that’s about helping others, especially those less well off! I’m not entirely comfortable with the statement myself, but I am definitely challenged by the thinking behind a campaign I came across recently – ‘UNCHARITY’ by HOPE International.

For too long, we’ve underestimated the power of people living in poverty.

The basic idea behind this campaign is based on microfinance, which isn’t a new idea, but I love this concept of ‘uncharity’. Here it is: providing our money, skills or resources to the poor, is not enough. In fact, this campaign goes so far to say that it has even been a hinderance to people breaking out of the cycle of poverty. HOPE says that “despite our best intentions, this approach has all too often done harm rather than good. Economist Dambisa Moyo reports in Dead Aid that Africa has received over $1 trillion in aid in the past 50 years, and in many countries, growth has stagnated–even plummeted.” A surprising fact, but it definitely makes sense –

By ignoring the God-given creativity, abilities, and motivation of those living in poverty, we’ve created feelings of dependence that cripple dreams rather than expanding them. HOPE International believes that charity is not the answer, that some of the best solutions to poverty come from the poor themselves.

Continue reading “The poor don’t need charity”

Fair trade stuff costs more… is that fair?

Its funny how things come to your awareness… You may have never really thought of something ever before, then all of a sudden it’s everywhere you look. I like to call this the ‘Yellow Laser’ thing – back in high school when we were all getting our first cars, one of my mates got a bright yellow Ford Laser… I’d never seen anything like it before, but once it was on the mind, I seemed to see so many yellow Ford Lasers cruising around! Either they were giving them away, or my mind was just locked into the awareness of ‘yellow laser’, so something triggered when I saw one!

Ford Laser

My current ‘Yellow Laser’ is about the source of stuff – I’ve been challenged to think about where the things I own or buy come from, and also how it is made – as a general concept I suppose you could call this ‘fair trade’ (though from what I can gather, the issue is potentially much bigger than what some would define fair trade as). Continue reading “Fair trade stuff costs more… is that fair?”

What’s It Like to Live Below the Line?

Some good friends from church, the Jacobs family, were one group among thousands of other Aussies who recently took part in Live Below the Line. I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask them about the experience and get some insights into what it is like to live below the Australian equivalent of the “poverty line”.

“Live Below the Line will challenge you to live on $2 a day, for 5 days. It opens a window onto the day-to-day experience of extreme poverty…”

Here’s a few questions I asked The Jacobs about their experience…

Continue reading “What’s It Like to Live Below the Line?”

Celebrate Progress and Never Stop Asking for Change

MDGThere’s a lot of power in shocking statistics that portray the ‘doom and gloom’ of poverty and other big issues – they can help us to come to terms with the reailty of what others are going through in this world and can often move us to action. I see heaps of these ‘shocking stats’, but not so often do I come across more ‘positive stats’ – stats that highlight the encouraging progress that is being made and celebrating the change that has been achieved over the years.

I recently came across a great video that showed some great stats on the progress that has been made on the Millenium Development Goals (MDG):

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. In September 2010, the world recommitted itself to accelerate progress towards these goals. (from UNDP website).

MDGThere’s some big goals here and it’s so encouraging to see the progress that has been made so far – here’s a snapshot of some awesome ‘positive stats’ from the video: Continue reading “Celebrate Progress and Never Stop Asking for Change”

Thousands of Positive Posters!

Congrats to Nick and the crew at Positive Posters for running a successful 2011 competition! There were literally thousands of entries, so I did my best to look at most of them, but just couldn’t get through them all (or this post wouldn’t have been live until 2012!).

So here’s a few of my favourite entries based on the message they communicate, a clever concept, great design or a combination of them all. Enjoy!

by Tom Andrews // Hundred's and thousand's die in poverty

Continue reading “Thousands of Positive Posters!”

Fact: The 2 biggest killers of children under the age of 5

!

“The 2 biggest killers of children under the age of 5 are pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases.”

* UNICEF / World Health Organisation / World Bank / UNFPA

TAKE ACTION: “I believe it shouldn’t end at the beginning” – check out the great campaign by Compassion called ‘I Believe‘. The sadest thing about the above fact is that these are entirely preventable and treatable diseases. Forty-three per cent of under-five deaths are attributed to the five diseases: pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles – in Australia, these diseases account for just two per cent of deaths of children under five. Visit the I Believe website to learn more about child mortality and find out how you can help.

What a global food crisis looks like [Infographic]

Oxfam GROW Oxfam recently launched the GROW campaign to bring the ever increasing global food crisis out into the open. GROW seeks to educate people with the facts and reveal the causes and circumstances that have led to the broken world food system.

almost a billion of us go to bed hungry

From the GROW website: “Soon there will be nine billion of us on the planet. Our societies must grow to meet our needs, so we can put enough food on the table for everyone. Already, almost a billion of us go to bed hungry every night. Not because there isn’t enough. But because of the deep injustice in the way the system works”.

Oxfam has developed a helpful ‘Food Price Pressure Points Map’ which is more than just a global snap shot of the food crisis, but also illustrates which countries are at most risk and how people can help. Continue reading “What a global food crisis looks like [Infographic]”