Numerous sources have stated that over 12 million people are being impacted by the worst drought & famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Included in that figure are 600,000 Somali children that are on the brink of starving to death.
12 million people.
How do you wrap your head around such a number?
You begin with one.
The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17…
as in seventeen cents.
These statistics are overwhelming but while we may not be able to remedy, fix, or respond to the entire situation, we must respond. I’m often reminded of Mother Teresa’s wisdom and quote:
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
Over the years, I’ve grown very uncomfortable (and at times, angry) at what I consider to be borderline exploitation of images (and people) used by non-profit organizations to solicit donations. It’s not that I don’t understand the realities of suffering and extreme poverty because I do know. I’ve seen them many times with my own eyes. I have held children in my arms.
It’s just that they’re the only images shown or displayed…
It strips away a sense of human dignity.
Is it to invite donations? In part.
But more importantly, it’s to tell people:
Dear World: Please wake up!
This and other “worse” images are real and are from real events happening to real people right now.
I get it. We’re all exhausted. We’re all concerned about the economy, the budget, issues in our own backyard, our personal finances, our churches, etc. Heck, we all did our part in Haiti and Japan. We all have other commitments and causes. We belong to “other tribes” that do work in “other” parts of the world.
I get it. I really do. You’re tired. We’re all fatigued.
But don’t mistake donor fatigue with compassion fatigue.
Never stop caring. You can’t wrap our head around suffering without your heart. We still need to respond to this epic humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa that Oxfam is predicting may grow to impact 15 million people.
Support your ‘trusted’ or “favorite” organizations or effective organizations (via ONE) already on the ground. There are many out there. For those that are looking for partner, here’s four ways you can partner with One Day’s Wages. As always, 100% of your donations (minus credit card fees) will go directly to people in need. You have my word.
1. Lend your voice. Join our partners at ONE and sign the petition to call on governments and its leaders to save millions of lives in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere:
Dear World Leaders,Please urgently provide the full funding that the UN has identified as necessary to help people in the Horn of Africa, and please keep your promises to deliver the long term solutions which could prevent crises like this happening again. (sign your name)
2. Give whatever you feel compelled to give. Perhaps – one day’s wages (0.4% of your annual income) or $17 (equivalent to 100 meals), or $170 (1000 meals) according to World Food Programme’s breakdown.
3. If you have a birthday coming up in the next few months, create a birthday campaign for the Horn of Africa.
Eugene Cho is the co-founder (with his wife) and executive director of One Day’s Wages—“a movement of People, Stories, and Actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.” He is also the founding and lead pastor of Quest Church and the founder and executive director of Q Cafe—a non-profit community cafe and music venue in Seattle. Eugene is considered one of the prominent bloggers on issues of justice, faith, ministry and utilizing social media for good. You can follow him via his blog or Twitter. More from Eugene Cho.