Recently I received the World Report from CARE, the charitable organization that provides aid to developing countries that need help because of disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or because of continuing hunger.
The newsletter cited poverty, severe weather, conflict, and deforestation as the four main causes of hunger in the world. The kind of help provided by CARE takes many forms, including food donations in the form of a product called Plumpy’nut, which can quickly begin to reverse the effects of malnutrition in a small child; training of farmers so that they can plant more productively, thus feeding themselves, and sometimes having enough left to sell; micro-loans and financial services, supporting local savings and loans institutions and providing access to basic financial service; and education and empowerment for girls and women.
These are positive programs that will help overcome hunger and poverty, educate women so that they can help themselves and their families, help communities and countries to be self-sufficient-and thus contribute to peace in the world.
Every day we see war and destruction on the news, anger and conflict among our politicians, fear-dominated actions and words. If we truly want peace, we don’t have to give so much attention to the negativity in the world. We can do something positive, to help the people in countries that most need help.
I’m sure that there are many other ways to help developing countries-going there and volunteering in an agency like the Peace Corps, for example. But if we can’t go there and help, and if we’re not in a position to control policy, we can still do something. We can make contributions, however small, to agencies like CARE, not just when there is a disaster or a world crisis, but regularly. If a lot of Americans gave $5 a month, for example, that would add up fast. I know people are hurting financially now. I’m not asking them to give what they need to feed their own families. But a lot of us still have an income, and still have much much more than a lot of people in the world.
According to CARE, the hurricane season is underway in Haiti, while hundreds of thousands of people are still living in shelters. In Pakistan, the flooding displaced 27, 500 people from their homes, and they urgently need food, safe drinking water, medicines and shelter. Guatemala needs help because a volcano erupted in May, and was followed by a tropical storm, causing widespread damage affecting over 400,000 families. Emergency food relief is needed in Niger, where there is a food security crises. Besides food, grain and animals are being provided.
All of these problems and more exist in the world, and they are being addressed; these actions just don’t get as much attention as the wars do. And we can help. If we have it, we can give a little. These are people, with hopes and dreams like ours, people who think and worry and laugh, just like us.
Remember that song that was so popular in the eighties, “We Are the World”? It’s still true.
Source: World Report: A Newsletter for Friends of CARE, July-August 2010, No. 165.
For more information about CARE’s work around the world, visit the CARE website.