Poverty: It's a word everyone has heard. Much of the world understands it firsthand.
Maybe you've personally experienced physical poverty at some point, with its life-depleting side effects -- lack of nutritious food, clean water, safe shelter, medical care, or education.
Or maybe poverty is a reality that feels distant to you -- something you've heard of but never experienced for yourself.
If you are in the latter category, you might have more questions than answers on the topic: What causes poverty? Why is it so complex? How does poverty affect families and communities? What can I do about it?
For more than 60 years, World Vision has been fighting poverty and its negative effects through child sponsorship -- which, like the poverty that it aims to address, might raise more questions among our supporters: What is sponsorship? How does it work? Who benefits from sponsorship?
In August, we're traveling with a team of eight bloggers to Sri Lanka to uncover the answers to some of these questions about both poverty and World Vision child sponsorship. Our goal? Highlight how World Vision is using sponsorship to transform the lives of children, families, and communities who have been caught in the vicious cycle of poverty.
Join us by following our trip, August 26-September 1, 2012, as we share our experiences and answer your questions from Sri Lanka. We'll be posting daily from the blog; you can also follow us on Twitter.
Meet the Sri Lanka bloggers team below -- and join us on this special journey next month!
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Laura is an Oklahoma girl who found herself in the city of Los Angeles. She spent six years working in reality television, but her true passion is writing. She currently lives in Hollywood with her toddler daughter, infant son, and producer/director husband.
She blogs daily at Hollywood Housewife on life, being a mom, fashion, home, and more.
Tony is the author of "The Church Is Flat" and a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of the emerging church, postmodernism, and Christian spirituality. You can see all of his books here and read his blog posts here.
Tony co-owns a social media consulting and event planning company. He is married, has three children, and lives in Edina, Minnesota. In his spare time, he trains his yellow lab, Albert, and takes Albert hunting for ducks, grouse, and pheasants.
Roxanne Wieman has worked in publishing for more than nine years. She has edited books, curriculum, web articles, and magazines; worked for Group Publishing, Christianity Today, and, most recently, as the editorial director for RELEVANT Media Group.
She now serves as the editor-at-large for RELEVANT Magazine and works as an editorial consultant, freelance writer, and pretty much any other role related to words and publishing.
Shawn lives in Paradise, Pennsylvania, with his wife and four children. In early 2012, he and his family embarked on a four-month trip around the United States in a blue bus named Willie, during which they got stuck in Virginia, the ignition fell into the dash in Florida, and they lost their brakes coming through the Teton Pass in Wyoming. Many other less exciting things also took place.
He thinks that telling stories is the most effective way of changing the world, and he blogs daily at shawnsmucker.com.
Joy grew up in a Christian home and should know the answers to all the usual faith questions -- but she doesn't. She has delivered four babies, handed two over to heart surgeons in the hall outside an operating room, and buried one in a cemetery just a few miles from her home.
She has no idea how she managed to marry a man who would love her and their kids through all of the upheaval, but she did. She has been writing since the second grade and blogging since 2005.
Darrell Dow is a humorist blogger, aspiring writer, frustrated poet, and semi-professional somnambulist. Born the second son of a full-time missionary, Darrell spent his childhood growing up in the poorer areas of the Caribbean and experiencing life in the developing world firsthand. It was not until years after college that he began writing down humorous observations from his childhood experiences in Christian fundamentalism, an exercise that eventually turned into a full-fledged blogging career.
Darrell currently lives in Alabama with his wife and two daughters and works full-time in medical information systems, in addition to his writing.
Allison Olfelt blogs regularly at omyfamilyblog.com about life as a mother and sustainable living.
She met her (now) husband during their first week at college. They were married at the ages of 20 and 21, and since then, it has been a whirlwind of marriage, home-buying, and doing life with their two little boys.
Matthew Paul Turner
Matthew is a speaker, author, humorist, and blogger. He’s written 18 books, including “Churched” and “Hear No Evil.” We are excited to have Matthew along as our photographer.
Matthew, along with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Elias and Adeline, live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Lindsey Minerva studied journalism at Biola University before channeling her passion for helping people to social media. Lindsey manages and writes for the World Vision blog.
When she’s not blogging, Lindsey is an avid DIY-er, coffee-drinker, and Seattle Sounders FC fan.
Carla Swanson Gawthrop
Carla has worked for World Vision for 10 years -- in copywriting, international communications, and now, web content for the World Vision website.
She is a mother of two preschoolers and resides in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Clint.
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Do you have questions you have always wanted to ask about World Vision's sponsorship programs? Post them below!