Do you give money to beggars? I can think of plenty of reasons why such giving is not a good idea. Then, I’ll see some destitute woman shivering in the cold, and I’ll feel compelled to press a few dollars in her hand.
Back from her recent trip to Romania to cover the brutal cold and snow that buried much of Eastern Europe, leaving many families struggling to survive, World Vision's Laura Reinhardt shares a story of how World Vision sponsorship in a small community is helping to break the cycle of poverty and social stigma.
The high school dropout rate in Romania is unacceptable. According to a Romanian Ministry of Education report from 2009, 25 percent of teens in rural Romania do not attend high school.
Recently, a group of nine youth, six of them sponsored, were invited to participate in a photography workshop. The children learned the basics of photography and then were loaned cameras to take pictures highlighting the problem of school dropout rates in their community.
Their photos were used to create a local photo exhibition to raise awareness about the importance of education in their community. The show was called "Tell it to the World!" Here are some of their photos.
I have worked with World Vision for nearly three years -- yet I am still amazed by the things I see and the stories I hear. I am equally inspired by the drive and determination of people living in poverty to overcome their circumstances and build a better world for their children, their communities, our country, and the world.
Recently, I experienced firsthand the struggles children in remote communities face just to get to school, and I wanted to share this experience with you.
More than 60 percent of Ethiopian girls will be married before they are 17. It's a startling fact.
But when we see and hear the story of a girl who was forced into marriage when she was just 14 years old, statistics are transformed from mere numbers to a face. To a voice. To reality.
My grandmother was a teacher. My mom taught special education. My brother teaches middle school math. My sister is on the school board. Clearly, the importance of a good education was instilled in me from a young age.
Still, the teacher gene is not dominant in my DNA. I think it might have something to do with my patience -- or lack thereof.
Although teaching is not in my vocation, I understand and value the work of teachers across the United States and around the world. These dedicated servants are molding the future generations, often in difficult circumstances.
In my time working with World Vision, I have had the privilege of meeting and interacting with many teachers around the world. It is astounding to me that despite the geographic area, the culture, or the language, teachers around the world have so much in common -- the same dreams, the same motivations, and many of the same struggles.
The following are excerpts from interviews with teachers from three different continents. See if you can guess where they are from:
When I first laid eyes on Holt -- a community just outside of Tuscaloosa, Ala. -- just a few days after the April 27 tornado struck, what had once been a vibrant neighborhood now looked like a huge open field. It was a field filled with splintered wood, crumpled metal, broken glass, and shattered dreams.
Families sorted through the ruins looking for anything they could salvage.
Change our world -- that's this year's International Youth Day theme. It seems more than appropriate in a year of ongoing economic struggle, debt ceilings, radiation leaks and famines. And there are issues of injustice that fail to make headlines but distress so many people -- child abuse, abduction and trafficking, school drop-outs because of forced labor or need for income, neglect of children and youth, and an apparent lack of youth voice.
But there are youth out there advocating against such injustices, making real differences in their communities, and changing our world for good. This post is a reminder, on International Youth Day, that youth are to believed in because through them, great things are possible.
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
World Vision’s child sponsorship program has been part of my life for nearly two decades. My dad started working at World Vision when I was 9 years old. I’ve worked here for nearly five years now, and my husband and I sponsor three children of our own.
We love getting letters, drawings, photos, and progress reports from the children in our global family. And we love sending them cards, pictures, small packages, and the occasional extra gift.
But even as a staff person and a longtime child sponsor, I’ve still asked myself: What does sponsorship actually do? How does it actually work?
In putting this blog post together, I’ve learned that, in a nutshell, sponsorship connects you with a child in need and empowers the child’s community to become healthy, safe, and self-reliant, breaking the cycle of poverty.
It’s not a handout. It’s more like a hand up. By helping to provide access to life essentials, we, as sponsors, don’t just “give away” our money and cross our fingers. We actually help World Vision in giving the entire community of our sponsored child a “boost” up and out of poverty.
In order for children to experience life in all its fullness, they must have reliable access to all of the essentials for life: clean water, a secure source of food, healthcare, education, etc. That’s why World Vision takes an integrated approach to helping our sponsored children’s communities become whole, because each piece of this puzzle intertwines with the others.
[caption id="attachment_4665" align="alignright" width="162" caption="In Senegal, a World Vision water pump in Mballo's village gives her community clean water. ©2010 David duChemin/World Vision"][/caption]
Clean water: This is often where our work starts. Simply providing access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene can cut a community’s child death rate by more than half.
Food security: We help farming families learn better crop cultivation and food storage techniques, provide essentials like seeds and tools, and distribute food aid to help make sure that children get the nutrition they need.
Health care: We help to make basic health care accessible by stocking health clinic shelves with medicine, training parents and health workers to treat illness, and coordinating HIV-prevention education and care for those affected by HIV and AIDS.
Elegant, regal, ceremonious, formal, beautiful -- these are all words that might be used to describe Prince William and Kate's wedding after this weekend's royal wedlock. But as any married person (or former wedding party member) knows, it is not without great planning that a "dream" wedding comes to life. There are dress fittings, cake tastings, floral appointments, seating charts... and perhaps one of the more exciting pre-wedding activities -- the gift registry.
But the royal couple is obviously not registering for towels, kitchen appliances and luggage. Instead, we love that they asked for donations to charitable funds, which got our blog team thinking -- if we were invited to the royal nuptials, what World Vision gift would we give William and Kate? So we polled our Facebook community. Here's what you all had to say...
Total number of votes - 1,384
Most voted for World Vision gift - Education for orphans
On Sunday, many of us will be tuning in to watch the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers compete in Super Bowl XLV. The Super Bowl is always one of the most-watched events of the year, and I’m looking forward to gathering with friends to watch the game — and the commercials. But when I watch the big game this weekend, my mind will...
When I was a kid in high school in England, a rock band called Pink Floyd released a hit single called “Another Brick in the Wall.” I still vividly remember the lyrics … I’m not sure whether my rather strict geography teacher, Mr. Clift, was familiar with the song, but I’m certain he would not have approved. Whenever we grumbled...
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