This year, Blog Action Day is focused on poverty. As you can see by the lateness of this post, I really wasn’t sure what to write. Poverty is a daunting topic and anything I attempted seemed like too little.
So I decided to write about what Micah and I are doing to help, in a small way, and why we choose these methods of helping.
Helping Eradicate Poverty Through Child Sponsorship
As long as I can remember, my family has sponsored a child or family through World Vision. When I was 18, I started sponsoring my own child, a little girl from India. Her project recently wrapped up (so now I’m sponsoring a little boy in Brazil) and it was awesome to get the closing letter talking about everything that WV had done in her community. The money had helped build sanitation systems, provided job training for parents dealing with a changing job market, provided school for the children, raised literacy, etc.
In most of these child sponsorship programs, what you’re really sponsoring is the community. But through that, you help the individual child and building a relationship with them is also meaningful.
Helping Eradicate Poverty Through MicroLoans
I recently made my first loan through Kiva. The loan was for a young woman who works providing health care in her community and needed start-up money for medical supplies. Eventually all or most of it will be repaid and I can lend it again, one of the beautiful things about microloans. I plan to fund more loans as time goes by and eventually build up more giving money.
Helping Eradicate Poverty Through Practical Giving
World Vision, the Heifer Project, and a number of other groups have “gift catalogs” which allow you to give practical items worldwide. These could be a pump, a whole well, an animal, a set of mosquito nets, a soccer ball (not as practical, but much appreciated), a sewing maching, a year or education—there are a million possibilities.
Through the Church
We also give to our church, which is heavily involved with social causes including helping the poor and homeless of DC. This month, I joined my church’s service committee, which helps organize events, spotlights area organizations, and helps people find places to give their time or money. We also decide where the advent offering will go—in the past it has often gone abroad, but this year it will be going to a group that helps people in DC who are struggling with their rent or who have just been evicted. I’ll be working primarily with organizing the information and making it available online.
Micah has a thing for buying sandwiches for some people he’s gotten to recognize in the area. It’s not planned and it’s not going to eradicate poverty. But in the midst of programs, etc, you can’t ignore the face of poverty, especially if you live somewhere like DC. DC has a huge homeless population but apparently also has a much better support system/shelter system than many US cities (hence people migrate here).
Why We Give the Way We Do
We give through World Vision because we believe that strengthening communities and providing more education helps people get out of poverty. We loan through Kiva because microloans to small businesspeople (particularly women) help them build businesses which improve their family’s situation and often their community as well. We give practically because these tools (education, llama, sewing machine, pump, etc) help people expand their businesses, farms, keep them healthy, or prepare them for employment later on. We give through the church because we admire the groups our church partners with. And we give in person because poverty is here as well as around the world and sometimes buying a sandwich is the right thing to do.
Other bloggers who’ve written for Blog Action Day include:
Gather Little By Little
Pinyo of Moolanomy
David of My Two Dollars
Lynnae of Being Frugal
Pete of Bible Money Matters
Patrick of Cash Money Life
Cheap Like Me
Think Your Way to Wealth
Free From Broke
That One Caveman