There are so many benefits to doing this challenge. It's like a serious cleanse, I'm losing weight (9 pounds now), feeling healthier and my mind is actually clearer now that I've adjusted. But what sucks is I feel like I'm losing my edge with how to communicate what I want to say in any kind of concise or inspiring way. But I'm going to try again tonight because I feel indebted to the ~100 of you my stats say are, somehow, amazingly, regular readers of this blog. (Thank you).
As a writer's block exercise, I will start with a simple photo that I'd like to write about. This is a shot I took of two young students enrolled in our Children's Hope Center after-school-care program in a landfill scavenger's slum colony of Manila, Philippines (greater Manila has a population of 22 million and is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, the poverty there is some of the worst I have ever witnessed). Take a look... what do you see?
I see hope. I see potential. I see friendship and loyalty. I see purity and innocence. I see opportunity. I see your generosity. I see a world of possibilities.
I wanted to share a special story of one of the girls who benefits from this program.
Back on day 13, I shared a photo of Lailani at her home in the slums, and I'll post it here again, this time with her story which I feel strongly is worth your time.
When school ended in April, she was happy to win the “Most Behaved” award. Lailani has 5 siblings. Many afternoons, she and her younger sister can be found selling cassava cakes worth 20 cents each, which are handmade by their mother when they can afford the ingredients. However, they usually do not have the budget for making the cassava cakes, so Lailani and her sister are often in the garbage area looking for bottles to sell — a full sack of bottles sold to a junk shop earns them $1. Lailani is very persistent to earn money to help her parents. Her parents were not able to pursue their education after the 5th grade, thus they are both scavengers as well earning just $2 each day.
When one of our volunteers at the Hope Center asked Lailani why she wants to find junk even if it’s not safe for her to do so at her age, she said, “I just want to contribute a little to my mother to have rice and a meal for the day. And also I can sometimes buy snacks on my own if I feel hungry.” Lailani, her parents, and her 5 siblings live in a heartbreaking state of poverty. Her mother said, “I am thankful that she can help us to have additional money for our food, but I never force her to do this. I can’t give well the good life but I’m still doing my best to keep us from having nothing.” Despite all of this, Lailani wants to become a doctor one day so that she can help those who are sick. She is a dreamer, and a kind and lovely child.
Lailani is very thankful to be enrolled in our Children’s Hope Center program where she receives academic tutoring, and she can also learn on the computers and get snacks and a fresh-cooked meal such as spaghetti, before going home for the day. She says, “I am eager to attend the program because of the spaghetti fed to me before tutoring. I love the spaghetti and wish we could have more.” Lailani and her family are grateful for the Children’s Hope Center because they feel cared for and have hope and sometimes it helps them to forget their life of poverty. Her mother said, “Thank you for sharing your blessings with us. The Hope Center program could change our life from a down life to a good life.”
This brings me back to my "Monthly Donor Heart-Chart." Unfortunately, but not surprisingly for a Sunday and Father's Day at that, I did not see any new "Heart-Chart" members today. That's ok, because, with your help in spreading awareness and doing your small part, we are going to rock this chart over the next 12 days! Here's where we are currently on the first 1/3rd of the chart. This represents amazing progress!
The point I want to drive home today is that even a small but consistent contribution can lift a family like Lailani's out of despair, giving them hope to the point that little Lailani dreams of becoming a doctor someday. I truly believe that she could achieve that dream, and end up saving lives because she was given the opportunity afforded by the Hope Center.
There's no amount that is too small to make a difference in this case. Did you read her story? We are talking about this level of desperation: the family is actually making decisions that put the safety of their child at risk so she can earn them an extra dollar a day from her work in the trash heap looking for recyclables!
Your small but consistent gift can help us keep these kids out of hazardous labor. This is my shot of some of the children I met at the trash heap working to find recyclables.
So I'm daring you to do something. Sign up to give a dollar a month. If you can't do that, then you have given in to indifference! You've declared that you can't make a difference, so why try. I'm pleading with you, on behalf of girls like Lailani, to overcome that, stand up, and do something, anything at all, no matter how "small" it may seem to you.
Charitable goal explanation. For those of you just tuning in, I'll recap what I'm trying to achieve with the "Monthly Donor Heart-Chart" and my goal of finding 50 new sponsors for these "hearts" which I like to think of as representing lives being transformed and, ultimately, saved.
Why am I seeking monthly donors? The orphan care, child labor response, and human trafficking response programs we've pioneered at Peace Gospel and She Has Hope— while sustained in part by small business enterprise— need charitable support to be fully sustained. The budgets of these programs have fixed, monthly expenses. Thus, while one-time donations are deeply appreciated, it's the monthly donations that give us something to count on and plan with. Therefore, long-term, they're the most powerful.
If you're willing to make a small monthly sacrifice of any amount to help ensure that the following merciful actions are fully funded each month, I would be grateful for your partnership with me in this effort. With your help, our monthly budget enables us to…
- Provide resident care for 290 orphans in 11 homes in Asia and Africa
- Operate 4 schools and 4 after-school care programs reaching over 1000 children
- Serve approx. 50,000 fresh meals to children in our programs
- Train 100s of girls how to avoid the dangers of human trafficking
- House, rehabilitate and empower 20 girls recovering from human trafficking
On to what I was able to create with just $1 worth of food today. These were three pretty solid little meals. Again I'm surprised at what I can come up with for so little.
Click or tap on image to enlarge...
2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, Amazon.com through this link. 7% of your purchases made through the link are given to the work of Peace Gospel's programs helping orphans, at-risk children of the slums, and human trafficking survivors.
3) If you're compelled by my effort here, please share it with friends. One of the main goals is awareness. So if you can help with that, huge.
4) Leave me feedback. Please comment on this post, especially if you have any ideas about what I should try to cook with these ingredients I have available. I love hearing from you! It really helps!