Monday, November 16, 2009

Make A Difference

     As we sit in our warm homes, live comfortable lives, get the many things we only desire, have the ability to eat whatever whenever we want, people around the world are working just to stay alive and not even have the time or energy to think about the things they only want.  They sometimes cannot even get the things they need.  This is a problem and although it is nearly impossible to wipe out poverty and hunger and homelessness, it is possible to make a difference and help a life.  I encourage you to make a difference.  Tell your friends these things, get involved, write letters to Senators and Representatives.  There are countless things you can do to help your global society.

Crisis in Congo

     The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked as the poorest country in the world mostly due to the wars that have been fought in past and recent years.  Although the country is currently war free, the people are still fighting to stay alive.  Everyone, including children, are working extensive hours and living off of maybe one or two meals a day. The country is improving but is still far away from being anything close to comfortable.
     The Action Against Hunger lists areas in which the countries still needs help.

  • Community Management of Acute Malnutrition
  • Emergency Intervention Pool for Nutritional Crisis
  • Capacity Building of the National Nutrition Program of the Ministry of Health
  • Nutrition surveys
  • Nutrition and health education
Food Security:
  • Distribution of seeds and tools
  • Seed multiplication
  • Agricultural production processing
  • Fish farming
  • Income generating activities
  • Technical training
Water and Sanitation:
  • Boreholes, wells, springs protection, water collectors, water committees
  • Latrines for private and public use
  • Hygiene promotion
  • Cholera prevention and emergency response
     The Action Against Hunger organization has many opportunities to help the circumstances in Congo and all over the world.  You can work for them, or simply support their cause.  Either way your efforts make a difference and help lives. 

"Action Against Hunger". AFC International Network. November, 16, 2009

Uganda: Warfare to Poverty

            There has been a civil war going on for twenty years that has made an imprint in what will be our historical being.  The Northern Ugandan Government has been fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under the self proclaimed leader Joseph Kony.  Kony and the LRA are responsible for many thousands of deaths, but also abducting over 30,000 children soldiers and forcing the remaining population into displacement camps.  In these camps they have little amounts of food, poor to no shelter, and no medicines for the many people who are suffering with various diseases especially HIV. The population on these Displacement Camps suffers from tremendous amounts of hunger and end up sleeping on concrete floors jammed pack full of others trying to find shelter. 
            Hence blooms the organization Invisible Children.  This organization has been raising awareness of the Ugandan war for the past couple years.  It also holds annual events to make a difference.  Last year’s event, titled The Rescue set up locations all over the world for people to gather and wait until a famous local figure recognized the moment and “saved” them.  Check out the links to learn more and see how you can become a part of something beneficial and real.  There is information about the organization itself, the situation in Uganda, their events, and fundraisers.

"Invisible Children". Invisible Children. November, 16, 2009 

Facts and Figures

·         About 10 percent are homeless for up to 2 months, with housing availability and affordability adding to the time they are homeless.
·         1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).
·         Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
·         1.02 billion people across the world are hungry.
·         947 million people in the developing world are undernourished.

Top Ten Poorest Countries (GDP Per Capital)
Democratic Republic of Congo
Guinea Bissau
Solomon Islands
Central African Republic


"Hunger Facts: International". Bread for the World. November 16, 2009 .
Shah, Anup. "Causes of Povery- Global Issues". November 16, 2009
“Top Poorest Countries". MapXL. November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Common Misconceptions

There are always rumors and gossip, and with homelessness it is no different. Myths usually begin with a grain of truth, but eventually get distorted into something very misrepresented. Here are just a few of the examples that one may think.

Homeless people belong in mental asylums.
Only 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of a severe mental illness. Many of these people get help in some fashion but cannot reside in an institution for monetary reasons. Only those who serve as a threat to themselves or others are forced into these institutions. However to reason that all homeless people are mentally ill and are in need of an asylum is a generalization that does not help solve the problem we face.

It is the homeless people’s fault that they are in their current circumstances.
It is true that some people do become homeless because of poor choices, however there are many other causes that contribute to struggles. Is it really reasonable to say that whole countries make bad choices therefore end up impoverish? The answer is obviously no. Natural disasters and wars are two common causes that leave countries destitute.

Homeless people just need to get a job.
In a homeless person’s world, getting a job involves a cycle which is nearly impossible to be broken. Getting a job requires being hired, meaning that this person must be presentable to the employer. However the homeless person would need to bath and have nice clothes and a place of residence. Then comes the problem; these people do not have the money to be able to make themselves presentable or have a place of residence. To get the money, they need a job; and the cycle continues.

Clyde, "Homeless America". November 15, 2009
"Mental Illness and Homelessness". Naitonal Coalition for the Homeless. November 15, 2009

Who Cares?

                Why be concerned about such problems that are so vast and expansive that it seems as if a single individual could not even make the slightest impact to have visible results?  Why should any of us care about hunger, poverty, or homelessness when we live a decent lifestyle, if not luxurious?  Sure homelessness is in our backyards, relatively speaking, but what about the issues that extends beyond our borders?  If we claim to be unselfish people, should we not be concerned with those suffering countries, which do not have enough food to feed their children and the rest of their community?  They struggle to find dinner, meanwhile we here in the United States live overly comfortable lives with multiple meals a day and excess food that gets thrown into trash cans and is wasted
                Why waste time writing something so simple as a blog that could easily go unnoticed and serve no purpose? Simply because knowledge is power and information is the key.  Becoming aware of global hunger, poverty, and homelessness serves as the first steps to the path to a possible solution or an improvement to the current circumstances that some people face. 
                Although it may seem that as a single person, or even a small group, influence is minimal, but a combined effort can be life changing and powerful.  Do not lose hope.