Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

Yesterday was "Blog Action Day," which is a day when bloggers around the world all write about a similar topic to draw attention to it. This year’s topic is poverty, and I had been planning to participate, but I didn’t get my post up in time! So I’m writing today in the hopes that people are still out there reading.

I want to tell you about a Canadian boy named Ryan. Many years ago, when Ryan was 6 years old and too young to know what’s supposed to be impossible, he heard that kids in Africa didn't have clean water to drink, so he raised money to pay for a well. His project snowballed into 461 wells in 16 countries and he's still only 17. Ryan's is one of the most inspiring stories I've ever heard and you can read all about it on his website.

I learned about Ryan and his wells from a one page story in Readers’ Digest. I contacted him and through email correspondence became convinced that he was the real deal. I was so inspired by this grade-schooler that I began looking for how I could make a difference, too. I thought about supporting Ryan’s project, but he had just received so much press coverage that it seemed he would have all the support he needed.

It wasn’t long afterwards that I picked up a brochure about Compassion International and their programs for children in developing countries. Through Compassion, a person can sponsor a child who will then receive, in a Christian context, schooling, food, medical care and recreational opportunities. What is required of the sponsor is a small monthly commitment of money and the promise to correspond with the child through letters and pictures. This fit me perfectly and so I signed up. It’s a very small difference. I am helping one child. But I am making a really big difference for that one child, and it's because of Ryan.

Earlier this year, I read the book "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortensen and wrote about it on my blog. I have had more hits on that review than anything else I have ever written! Several readers have asked me what I know about the projects from the book and have implied that they might want to contribute. To a few, I’ve suggested that they search out the next "Mortensen," the one who is just getting started and hasn’t had such great press, and fund one of his projects. One of my readers "happened" to meet someone just like this, a man who is building schools (on a shoestring) in Sudan. The reader decided to fund the project, and it's because I wrote about the book.

The issue of global poverty is enormous, and we have a responsibility to help. I want to use this day-after-blog-action-day to urge everyone to do what you can to make a difference. Maybe it’s something small, like me, but it inspires someone else to do something big. Maybe you’ll be like Ryan and achieve more than should even be possible. Maybe you can find the next Mortensen and fund the next school. Or maybe you’ll be the proverbial butterfly who flaps his wings, and changes the weather pattern on the other side of the world. Just care. And pass it on.
For more great posts from yesterday, check out this list on Joyce's blog.


Joyce said...

Donna, that's really cool that you've seen such a response to your book review! I've been reading that book, but got stalled about 3/4 the way through, even though I really like it. I'm going to get going and finish it.
I agree with your idea about finding the "next" Mortenson. Projects don't have to be big or famous to be accomplishing a lot for the people they serve.

Joyce said...

Donna, I just saw a review of "The Shack" you might like at

I tried to e-mail you but it bounced back. Sorry to go off-topic!

Donna said...

Hi Joyce,
Thanks for your comments. Glad you're enjoying the "3 Cups" book -- I thought it was great!

I'll have to check out that link. Don't know why the email bounced back...

kale for sale said...

I love the story of how you were affected and then took action which caused more action. Thank you. I can't hear it enough. I'm currently reading the Three Cups book. Truth is I like the story but the writing kind of gets in the way sometimes which doesn't mean at all that I'm not moved by it. I am. And by your story here too. Thank you.

Donna said...

kale: Thanks for your comment. I agree that the writing in "3 Cups" could be better, but the story is so compelling that it didn't bother me. Glad you're getting to read it!

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