Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fighting famine is ineffective aid

It’s popular in the press to judge a charity by its efficiency. Donors want to know whether their money is being used effectively, and journalists play a valuable part in keeping organizations accountable.

Without downplaying the important role the media play in this respect, I believe the public’s concerns about effective aid would be better served if the press also paid attention to slow-building disasters early on -- before they begin claiming lives. Inefficient responses to disasters can cost as much as 80 times more than a well-planned early response.

Change a community: Start with one child

World Vision is at work within 400 different communities in almost 100 countries. That’s where your support becomes food for people who are hungry, clean water, education to give children a better future, and care for the sick.

What you see when you visit these places is love in action. You see the manifestation of the love that sponsors have for people they’ve never met. You see it among World Vision staff serving those whom society has brushed aside.

While it might not be possible for you to travel to where your sponsored child is, we want to paint a picture of life within his or her community. It’s important to us that you know how your support is impacting the community and your sponsored child.

So each year, right around this time, World Vision sends out Community News. Look for it in your mailbox or email, or log in to myworldvision.org to see it. It's filled with updates on your sponsored child's community -- and how your support is uniquely impacting it.

One year later: Rebuilding normal in Tuscaloosa and Joplin

Last year at this time, I came home to find an urgent message on the phone from my manager. “Can you be on a plane at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning?”

I could, and I was -- heading to Joplin, Missouri, after a catastrophic tornado ripped through the town in the late afternoon of May 22, 2011.

During my first day on the ground there, a Joplin resident asked me whether I’d ever seen anything like it. Sadly, I had to answer yes. It was the second time in just over a month that I’d covered the aftermath of a deadly tornado.

Shining example: The shoeshine stand that delivers clean water

Leon McLaughlin’s story might make a script for a feel-good kids’ movie.

The plot goes like this: A humble shoeshine man operates from a stand in an important city building. As he shines the shoes of top city officials and business people, he shares his passion for bringing clean water to children around the world.

G8 leaders: Take a lesson on heroism from "The Avengers"

An evil force was threatening planet Earth. Thousands were dying every day. Millions more were threatened by hunger and starvation. Mothers and children fled the onslaught, but could not escape it.

But there was hope. A small group, invested with superhuman abilities, could change everything. If they chose to overcome their personal priorities, this small group could do amazing things. They could save the day.

I got back from watching “The Avengers” last weekend. Since that day in 1963 when I bought the first issue of the comic for 12 cents, I’ve been a fan of those superhero tales.

But I might just as easily have been talking about this week’s G8 Summit, where world leaders have the power to dramatically change the lives of nearly a billion people who suffer from hunger. Millions right now are facing acute food shortages. The prospect of famine looms in West Africa.

From heartbreak to joy

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

As a World Vision employee, I’ve grown quite familiar with the poignant prayer that our founder, Dr. Bob Pierce, scrawled in the margins of his Bible many years ago.

But on a busy afternoon last fall, as I sat at my desk in the World Vision U.S. headquarters, my heart was far from broken.

It was elated.

Surrounded by my coworkers, a giant bouquet of balloons, and even a photographer, I had received the surprise of a lifetime: My name had been selected in a drawing for a trip to see sponsorship in action! I had earned entries by recruiting friends and family members to become sponsors, and would soon be traveling to the nation of Ecuador to get an up-close look at World Vision’s work in the field.

HungerFree: The solutions manifesto

Wafts of sweet strawberries mingle with the earthy tones of potatoes as I walk beneath an awning covering a bustling sidewalk. I’m completing a weekly tradition of mine, shopping at the local farmers market. And, to be honest, taking in a bit of people-watching.

On this bright Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C., I see the happy faces of families and friends enjoying the day. Each person is carefree as they wind through overflowing crates of produce.

But here’s the irony: Although I work on behalf of children who have much less than I do, I walk through this market on the weekends sometimes just for fun.

Mother's day thoughts: Tiny for the wrong reason

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 13, we asked bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent. Every day through Mother’s Day, we will feature a different blogger to remind us to appreciate mothers and care for those who are hurting. Today’s post comes from Lindsey, who is the author of The Pleated Poppy. Photos by Michelle Siu/World Vision.

Mother's Day thoughts: A mother to the motherless

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 13, we asked bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent. Every day through Mother’s Day, we will feature a different blogger to remind us to appreciate mothers and care for those who are hurting. Today's post comes from Jill, who has previously contributed to the World Vision Blog during our 12 blogs of Christmas series.

A stronger safety net for children

From my childhood, I have distinct memories of the hot lunch program at school. In particular, it was a treat to be able to get hot lunch on special days. On St. Patrick’s Day, we had green-colored applesauce and chicken nuggets!

Most days, I appreciated the nutritious meals my mom lovingly packed, but sometimes, I would glance longingly from my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich (the fourth of the week) to the line of students getting hot lunch.

It has been a long time since I’ve thought about green applesauce. But, this brief moment from my childhood came to mind while reflecting on my visit to a World Vision program in the capital of Romania.

In the poorest area of Bucharest (also known as Sector 5), World Vision is working with the local government to provide hot meals and after-school programming for children, like tutoring and psychosocial support. The program started because of growing concern about the school dropout rate and the increased vulnerability of children due to poverty and lack of access to social services.

Mother's day thoughts: The gap between here and there

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 13, we asked bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent. Every day through Mother’s Day, we will feature a different blogger to remind us to appreciate mothers and care for those who are hurting. Today's post comes from Alise, who has previously contributed to the World Vision Blog during our 12 blogs of Christmas series.

When Mother's Day hurts

In honor of Mother's Day, May 13, we asked bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent.

Starting today and going through Mother's Day, we will feature a different blogger each day to remind us to appreciate mothers and care for those who are hurting. Our first post comes from Joy Bennett, who traveled to Bolivia with World Vision on our blogger trip last August.

PHOTOS: A new chapter for Amri Karbi, India

After 15 fruitful years, World Vision's work is coming to a close in the Amri Karbi region of India's Assam state.

Some 2,300 children have been sponsored in the area, and significant improvements have been made in education, economic development, infrastructure, and healthcare. World Vision sponsorship funds have bought books and furniture for classrooms, while helping parents pay for their children's school fees and uniforms. Women have been provided with training in entrepreneurship, as well as funds for start-up business efforts. A new chapter is beginning for the Amri Karbi region as the cycle of poverty is broken.

World Vision photographer Jon Warren gives us a glimpse of life there through the images below. Read the full story in World Vision magazine.

HungerFree: Your guide to the G8 and G20 summits

HungerFree is a campaign to end global hunger by creatively engaging world leaders on the topic. In May and June, leaders from the world's largest economies will meet for the G8 and G20 summits to discuss issues of global significance. James Pedrick of World Vision ACT:S, our college activism network, discusses these summits and the important role they can play in eliminating world hunger.

A cooperative Congress can save lives

Most will agree that Congress does not have a sterling reputation these days -- in fact, it bears the worst public perception of any of our branches of government. Some words you may hear used to describe the deliberating body: dysfunctional, divided, self-serving, broken.

The most recent approval rating for Congress (as of the publication of this post) is a dismal 14 percent. Has it always been this way? Does it have to be this way now?

National Day of Prayer: Pray to end the West Africa hunger crisis

Today is National Day of Prayer, a chance for Christians across the United States to come together around the belief that we serve a God who hears us when we pray.

Join us today in lifting up families affected by the food crisis in West Africa. Failed rains have led to poor harvests across the region, affecting as many as 15 million people in six countries -- Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, and Burkina Faso. Many families have exhausted their traditional means of coping and are cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.

Without access to basic nutrition, growing children may suffer developmental issues that can last a lifetime. Your prayers for these families already affected by poverty are urgently needed.

Helping my homeland: Why I sponsor a child in India

Aparna Sen, a World Vision sponsor, shares how her experience as a child growing up in Calcutta shaped her desire to help girls in India get an education and avoid discrimination and early marriage.

Recently, Aparna and her husband, Ritwick Dhar, had the opportunity to travel to India to meet 12-year-old Rebika, whom Aparna sponsored after becoming acquainted with World Vision and our work in her native country.