Syria refugee crisis

Pray with us and provide aid to refugees in increasingly desperate situations.
Learn more

$

Recent Posts By Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

The next 9 days... headed to Bolivia

I'll soon be en route to Bolivia -- along with a few of my favorite colleagues and seven new friends -- so keeping multiple copies of my travel itinerary is absolutely necessary. I figure that this will help ensure that nobody accidentally boards the wrong plane(s).

Of course, that's the least of anyone's worries at this point. I need to finish packing. (Elizabeth Esther and Nish Weiseth beat me with the packing competition days ago.) And for many of my teammates, leaving home and their children is something really worth fearing. To hopefully lighten the anxiety a bit, I'm posting a bird's-eye view of our itinerary and agenda while we're in Bolivia.

5 days out: Background on Bolivia

Less than one week to go before our team of 11 is in Bolivia, we're printing our travel itineraries and making dinner and to-do lists to leave at home while we're gone.

In a team phone call last week, I shared a trip brief (thanks to the assistance of many of my esteemed colleagues) with our team that provides cultural and political context to the areas we'll be visiting, photo and video guidelines, and key contact information. The portion below -- with facts and info about World Vision's work in Bolivia -- we're sharing with you as extended team members joining us (via our blogs and Twitter) in Bolivia, July 30-August 7. More to come later this week...

BOLIVIA, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia

  • Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups
  • Nicknamed “El Corazón de Sudamérica” (The Heart of South America) because of its location in the middle of the continent
  • Bolivia shares control of Lago Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m [almost 12,500 ft.), with Peru
  • There are three official languages spoken in Bolivia (lucky we'll have a translator with us): Spanish- 60.7%, Quechua- 21.2%, Aymara- 14.6%
  • We'll be celebrating the Bolivian independence day while we're there on August 6 (1825; from Spain) in the capital city of La Paz
  • Currency is called Bolivianos
  • (Source: World Factbook)

What would you paddle 6,000 miles for?

About a week ago I got this great email from a colleague telling me all about this recent college graduate who is embarking on a 15-month adventure around the Great Loop. (I confess I didn't know what the Great Loop is so I looked it up: The Great Loop is a continuous waterway around the eastern United States and Canada... The route ranges from 5,000 to 7,500 miles, passing through many states and several climate zones. Source: http://www.paddleforwells.com)

So, needless, to say... the Great Loop is basically an extraordinary waterway that would be no easy or quick trip for anyone. And what's more? Josh Tart is going to paddle the whole thing in his kayak. (This is where you and I have the same reaction -- WHAT!!??!)

Always enough love for one more

This note was simply too sweet not to share.

A little background: I first started talking to Debbie on our Facebook page, where she leaves us daily comments of encouragement. On Facebook, we've shared in Debbie's passion and deep love for all seven of her sponsored children. When she receives a letter from one of her "littles" from Thailand, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Brazil, Zambia, or Mexico, it makes our day, too. So when she heard about our bloggers trip to Bolivia, you can guess what she did next...


Rich Stearns on Independence, God, and South Sudan

God wasn't the first thing on my mind on Monday, the Fourth of July. Truthfully, the only credit I can give myself is that I was thanking God for the three-day weekend.

It's not far-fetched to say that most Americans likely think of Independence Day as more of an outdoor show than an obvious reason to thank and honor God.

That's why articles like Rich Stearns' in the Huffington Post are kind of a divine challenge for me -- a reminder that peace and freedom are reasons to thank God, and that with Independence there is struggle, but also hope.

May South Sudan's first Independence Day be that of the latter. And may Rich's article challenge you as it has me.


The following is an excerpt from Rich Stearns' "Celebrating Independence and Honoring God -- Half a World Away" in the Huffington Post:

Last Monday, July 4, I was holding David, my 5-month-old grandson, and savoring his facial expressions as we watched his father grilling hamburgers, celebrating his first Independence Day.

In a few years, he will begin learning about courageous individuals who fought an oppressive government whose armies incited unspeakable violence for more than a decade. But the death and destruction that resulted could not suppress the freedom fighters' undying faith in democracy over tyranny, freedom over injustice. Their perseverance and faith demonstrated why ballots are stronger than bullets.

BOLIVIA BLOGGERS: Exploring sponsorship

You've probably read stories -- on this blog or elsewhere -- of how extreme poverty can create a vicious cycle of hardship and despair for families and communities. And maybe you've even heard of how World Vision child sponsorship helps break that cycle -- by providing essentials that empower families, like nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, education, training, and more.

But where does sponsorship become more than just a simple explanation? Here at World Vision, we're constantly asking ourselves: How do we make sponsorship a personal experience, where poverty and its remedies are embodied in the stories of real people and real places? And how can we connect our supporters with that?

Here's to the first 100 -- and to the next

I'm the type of person who likes to celebrate everything -- not just birthdays and major holidays. Other causes for celebration may include a work achievement (like a promotion or completing a project), a randomly special day of the week, or monthly anniversaries of a first date or first time trying a new food.

You could say that I'm a believer that any reason to celebrate is a good reason to celebrate.

And I've got a good reason to celebrate today: This marks the 100th post on the World Vision Blog! That's 100 articles written by 44 different authors from all walks of life and faith -- from Washington state to Washington, D.C., to Zambia to Japan. Our posts have ranged from lighthearted to sobering, newsy to reflective, inspiring to thought-provoking.

Fast facts: Hunger

Editor's note: June is National Hunger Awareness Month. This weekend, more than 8,000 students across the country will participate in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine. They'll experience hunger firsthand, while raising funds to care for children who face this stark reality every day -- going to bed hungry.

In the past half-decade, global food prices have reached historic highs. The grocery store -- and restaurants, when we can afford them -- account for greater portions of our paychecks. Eating in or eating out costs more now than it did even seven or eight years ago.

But where increasing food prices are merely a source of frustration for Americans, they can be devastating to people who live in poverty in other parts of the world.

In places like sub-Saharan Africa, where staple foods like grains account for nearly half of all calories consumed, rising food prices can cripple families and communities. The price of maize increased by 80 percent in just two years. Wheat prices shot up 70 percent, while the cost of rice increased by 25 percent.

'The Hole In Our Gospel' inspires football coach to sell his home

My email inbox is notorious for housing second-hand articles from my colleagues about new technology, philanthropy, trends in new media, or nonprofit stories -- my typical work-related interests. But last week, several work friends sent me the UGA Sports Blog article, "Mark Richt sells Lake Hartwell property."

When I first started reading it, I was thinking that my colleagues who sent me this must think I'm an avid Georgia sports fan, even though I went to college in California, and have never even visited Georgia (nor do I keep up with college football). My short attention span had just about given up on the article when I read this paragraph about half way down:

“Within the last year, I read this book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” written by Richard Stearns. He’s the president of World Vision U.S. I think people understand who World Vision is but, basically, they help the poor. Through their organization, you can help children, you can help build wells, you can buy them donkeys, whatever people need. World Vision helps people across the world. Well, anyway, there was a lot of statistical data in there about the amount of people that live on a dollar a day around this world. Billions of people. So I’m reading this book and it really affected me. It helped me realize that what we have is way more than we need and that our ability to give is hindered by this property. I guess that’s the best way to tell you. We just wanted to be in a better position to give and bless people that don’t have anything. We felt like this was one way to be able to do that.”

One cup at a time

I first met Christian Kar, CEO of the One Cup Project, back in November at a local church conference. I was there with the World Vision Micro team, and Christian was there with his team. One Cup was a new World Vision corporate partner choosing to use its business to fuel hope in other countries -- by making donations from every coffee sale to support our work in Zambia. Together, we were representing the power that donations and personal purchases have on social and economic change in other countries.

I've met with Christian and his team many times since then. Our work together makes us "business partners," but our common goal to help others make us friends. I can vouch that he and his team embody every bit of brilliance and kindness you feel from their emails. They represent the spirit of an entrepreneur with the compassion of a humanitarian. They make One Cup's mission -- to tell a different story about business -- personal, believable, and contagious. It makes you want to join their team in their pursuit to change people's purchasing choices, one cup at a time.

Lindsey (L): Where does your coffee story begin?

[caption id="attachment_4778" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Christian at his coffee roaster. Photo courtesy of the One Cup Project."]One cup at a time | World Vision Blog[/caption]

Christian (C): I've been intensely focused on building a coffee enterprise since I was 19. You could say I didn’t choose coffee -- it chose me. I was sort of at the right place at the right time, and while I didn’t set out to be in coffee, I loved the people side of the business and grew to love coffee as well. The coffee business brought me out of my shell. I started with retail, then began roasting, and the business grew steadily year over year. Success seemed to come easy.

L: At the height of your coffee enterprise success, what was "game-changer" in dreaming up the One Cup Project?

C: My wife and I both surrendered our lives to Christ shortly after the 9/11 attacks. We both knew in our souls that all was not right in the world. As my faith began to mature over the next few years, I asked myself, "Is this it? Am I just going to be the coffee guy for 20 more years?" Then God planted the “seed” for the One Cup Project. In 2007, I went on a short-term missions trip to Kenya. God had laid Africa on my heart for reasons I can’t understand. I went, and my eyes were opened.

What I love about my mom

I always wanted to be just like my mom. When I was a little girl, I used to write her letters, telling her of the admiration I had for her beauty and grace, and that she would be my best friend forever.

Just a few months ago, my mom reminded me of those letters. She told me just how much she adored those scribbled, misspelled notes from the 5- and 6-year-old me. Her favorite was one that I had so appropriately titled on the outside of the envelope, “What I love about my mom,” proceeding on the inside to name 20 of the things I loved most about her.

Even as an adult, that list continues to grow. I add to it daily things like her unconditional support and her wise advice for making marriage last. She truly is the mother who has taught me how to love and how to grow in myself, and is still my best friend.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom -- and happy Mother's Day to every mom like you who cares for her children, strives to give them what’s best, and loves them unconditionally.


Here are few more “What I love about my mom” thoughts from a sponsored children in Armenia and the World Vision Facebook family.

[caption id="attachment_4620" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Sponsored child Sahak. ©2011 Armenuhi Sahakyan/World Vision"][/caption]

My mother

By: Sahak, sponsored child in Armenia

Mother so much tender
Kind and sincere
Forgiving and helpful
Courteous and dear

Mother, my darling
I love and adore you
Dearest to my heart
Let you be always so bright.

----

Royal gift poll results

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...

Which World Vision gift would you give Prince William and Kate if you were invited to the royal wedding?

Total number of votes - 1,384

Most voted for World Vision gift - Education for orphans

Fast facts: Malaria [infographic]

In honor of World Malaria Day, observed every year on April 25 as a day of awareness and recognition for global efforts to end malaria, we challenge you to educate yourself on the facts, raise awareness, and take action against this deadly but preventable disease.

Malaria is a disease of massive proportions that disproportionately impacts children. Each year, approximately 780,000 people die from malaria, 85 percent of whom are children under 5. World Vision works in 62 countries affected by malaria, 23 of which are in Africa.

Impact on children and families

  • Malaria is the 4th leading cause of death for children globally. According to latest figures, globally 8% of under-five child deaths are attributable to malaria and in Africa it is 16%.
  • More than 1,800 children under 5 die each day from malaria. That's approximately 1 child every 45 seconds.
  • Half of the world's population is at risk of malaria: There are 106 malaria-endemic countries with 3.3 billion people at risk. Malaria infects approximately 250 million people each year.
  • Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than U.S. $12 billion every year in lost economic productivity, and can cost households as much as 32 percent of their entire monthly income.
  • Insecticide-treated bed nets could prevent as many as 1 million deaths from all causes of malaria for children under 5.

Global malaria prevention

  • If universal malaria prevention can be achieved by 2010 and maintained until 2015, an estimated 2.95 million African children's lives can be saved.

Painting with words

As you may have noticed in March's Refrigerator galleries paintings post, sponsored children are quite the talented artists. Since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to share other beautiful "paintings" with you, this time in the words of sponsored children from communities in Romania, the Philippines and Colombia. Special thanks to our field communicators who have shared and translated the following poems for us.

The return of spring

By: Andreea, Romania

[caption id="attachment_4070" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Andreea, 13-years-old."][/caption]

Beloved spring
You hardly came into the country.
But with your loving voice,
Everybody you have awakened.

As you come year after year,
You chase away the winter under a wave
Of warmth and colour
Every day is a holiday.

The winter you push away
You never look back.
We would ask you not to leave
No way, never, no where
However we know that for us
You would never hide no more.

Life

By: Shaira, the Philippines

[caption id="attachment_4054" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Shaira, 14-years-old."][/caption]

Life is beauty, admire it
Life is bliss, embrace it
Life is a dream, grasp it

Life is duty, complete it
Life is a gift, win it
Life is a promise, fulfill it

Life is a song, sing it
Life is a sorrow, overcome it
Life is a struggle, fight it
Life is a tragedy, confront it

Life is an adventure, explore it
Life is a gift, be thankful for it
Life is so precious, value it

Life is life, live it to the fullest

The child poet of nueva esperanza

Editor's note: Luis is known as the poet of his village in Colombia.

I am pleased to introduce myself. I am called, “gordito,” or the little fat boy. When people listen to me telling verses, they call me “the poet” of my small village.

When commerce and charity share a mission

Whoever said that fashion can't make a difference in our world? Surely, if people can wear their hearts on their sleeve, they can definitely wear their cause.

I recently chatted with Kevin Murray, CEO of Jedidiah, who talked about the company's unique ability to artistically connect fashion to social causes so everyone can make a measurable difference in the world. Their collections are available online and in select retailers. *World Vision is the beneficiary of Jedidiah's Spring and Summer 2011 collections.

Tell me about the humanitarian mission behind Jedidiah...

Jedidiah's mission is “to use apparel sales as a vehicle to provide care, support and financial resources to those in need." We do this by partnering with amazing NGO’s each season. Really, our model is the collision of commerce and charity. I believe that social enterprises and business models with embedded generosity have the potential to change history and effect social causes like never before.

How do you think this belief resonates with Jedidiah supporters?

I think their deepest desire is to be part of something bigger than themselves and to make a real difference. America is the most compassionate country the world has ever seen. But maybe people don’t know how to engage or be part of the compassion movement. We ask for consumers to support our apparel brand as a way of getting involved and having a voice. But for that support, we, in turn, owe them a great product, with great design, built with integrity and style. If we don’t measure up to our peers in the apparel industry than we don’t deserve to be in business. A quality product at a fair price is crucial to our growth as a company.

So how did World Vision become part of the picture?

Our family has supported World Vision sponsored children for many years. I have always thought of World Vision as one of the most productive and efficient NGO’s and have been a huge fan for a long time. I love the way World Vision starts at the individual level. The model of changing one person’s life -- that can then change a family, a community, a city and a nation -- is one I believe in with all my heart.

I also know you have a huge heart for the child trafficking cause...

I am the father of three daughters. The idea that children are bought and sold for the pleasure of others is the saddest, darkest part of humanity I have ever seen. So with World Vision, we chose to commit our Spring and Summer 2011 charitable sales to fund a trauma recovery center in Cambodia that will help hundreds of children who are rescued from this life.

Fast facts: Child health

Today is World Health Day. World Vision joins the World Health Organization to draw attention to issues of global health, particularly the health of children. Part of this year's theme tagline is "no action today, no cure tomorrow." Consider this challenge as you read these facts.

  • Malnutrition contributes to more than half of all child deaths. (Source: World Health Organization)
  • Every year, 8.1 million children die of poor health. That is ...

22,191 per day,
924 per hour,
15 per minute,
1 child dies every 4 seconds.

(Source: UNICEF, Levels & Trends in Child Mortality, September 2010)

  • 195 million children are stunted due to hunger (1 in 3 children in developing countries). (Source: UNICEF, "Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Nutrition," November 2009)

[caption id="attachment_3644" align="alignright" width="231" caption="In Kenya, a malnourished child is weighed at a World Vision health center. (Tim Freccia/WV)"][/caption]

  • In the time it takes you to brush your teeth in the morning (average of 45 seconds), another child dies of malaria in Africa. (Source: World Health Organization)
  • Each year, 272 million school days are lost for children due to diarrhea. (Source: UNICEF)

Suffer together, rebuild together -- notes from a Japan aid worker

March 29, 2011- It’s 7:00 am, an aftershock shakes the building awake. It's big, lasts for maybe 30 seconds. Even two weeks after the quake and tsunami, tremors and ripples continue to wreak havoc and remind survivors of their fears and losses. I’m in Miyagi, one of the hardest-hit areas, with World Vision’s emergency response team. We’re....

In partnership news...

Companies face hundreds of decisions every day, decisions that have the potential to affect people’s lives. So when companies choose to partner with World Vision, it’s a decision that always humbles me. It says a lot about a company’s ethos when they choose to give their time and resources to bettering the world around them. It says we want to help make a difference in our world; we want to positively affect people’s lives.

A special thank you to these companies who have recently shared with us in the incredible opportunity we have to partner with one another in building a better world for children.

Freedom of imagination

One of the many measures being planned by World Vision to care for the needs of children after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are Child-Friendly Spaces — safe, supervised learning and playing places where kids can be kids in a post-traumatic environment. They receive psycho-social "first aid" through counseling and structured activities like playtime, music, and art.....