Light a Candle
We live in a crazy fast-paced world, where it’s hard enough to remember the next thing on our to-do list, let alone what’s happening to someone else halfway around the globe. We turn on the tap and instantly there is water, but what about those who spend two hours of their day to fetch water? We complain about going to school, but what about those who can’t go to school? We complain about going to work, but what about those who don’t have a job? We spend $1 on a bag of chips, but what about those who only earn one dollar a day? One dollar a day!
These are realities for over 3 billion people in our world today. If your family income is $25,000 a year, you are richer than 81% of the people in our world. To us, food is a given. So is running water. So are healthcare and education. Our lifestyle is not normal. Furthermore, we are always trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” But have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, YOU are the Joneses?
If we are the Joneses, then we should open our eyes to the many who are less fortunate than ourselves. Through modern technology, we can easily witness all the pain and suffering happening halfway around the world. We see images and read about starving children and families living in mud shacks. Most of us choose to change the channel, click away from the website, or flip the page. We have become by-standers, doing nothing. As we elementary students learn in school, to witness pain and do nothing is the same as causing the pain ourself.
Turning a blind eye will never make this world a better place. Leaving it to “someone else” will never make the world a better place. One of my favourite analogies is: It is better to light one candle in the darkness than not light one at all. Even if it only makes a small difference, the one light leads the way and people will join in by lighting their candles, eventually eliminating the darkness.
There is a well-known quote that says: It is more blessed to give than receive. I know this to be true from personal experience as my family has had many opportunities to be involved in initiatives to help fight global poverty.
You know the commercials: one dollar a day and a child’s life is changed forever. They’ll have nutritious meals, education and healthcare. Well, I can tell you, it’s true! My family sponsors two children, Florianlyn from the Philippines and Bell Bradley from Haiti. It is an amazing experience writing to them and hearing back from them, learning about their growth, culture and everyday life. Think about it: one dollar a day changes these kids’ lives. That’s less than your morning coffee.
How about this one: $10 can save a child from dying. Here’s how: $10 buys a mosquito net which protects children while they sleep from mosquito bites that infect them with malaria. Ten dollars can save a life! That’s less than what we would pay to go watch the latest movie. These are just two examples of the many ways your money can help to fight poverty.
But it’s not just money that can make a difference. Your time can too. Do you have extra pillowcases? Did you know that you can sew them into dresses for African girls living in poverty? Another example is one that I am passionate about. It is packing Christmas shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children living in 3rd world countries. It is an awesome way to bring happiness to an otherwise grim holiday for these kids. Watching videos of the joy on their faces as they open the shoeboxes always makes me smile. As you can see, volunteering your time is just as valuable as giving your money.
Aside from giving money and time, there is one thing that all of us can do: lending our voices to those living in poverty. Speaking out for those who have no voice. It could be a Facebook status or a tweet on Twitter, a blog post or a conversation with friends. You would be surprised at how many people don’t know, but would like to learn about global poverty.
You may think that all these things I’ve mentioned are too small to ever make a big enough difference. But just like the analogy of the candles, when everyone does a small part, there is hope that global poverty can be eliminated. It’s a big dream that needs all the help it can get, and it needs people like you and me to respond and say that we will make a difference, no matter how small. Now that you have heard, what will you do?
Will you light your candle?