Tuesday, June 26, 2012

day 14: a different kind of poverty

I'm dedicating day 14 to the girls in the below photo. I captured this scene in one of my recent visits to the Indian slums. These are the kinds of girls we're trying to rescue at "The Children's Hope Center", our slum education center in Hyderabad, India--India's fifth largest city at 8 million residents, and among the 40 most rapidly growing cities in the world. Here, they stand in front of their make-shift home made of tarps, cloths and sticks found in the trash.

I'm living on a total of $30 of food for 30 days, and going barefoot for the same time. Why? To bring awareness on their behalf, to try to identify with a small facsimilie of their many struggles, and to raise $5,000 to for 10 scholarships at The Children's Hope Center. So far we're up to $2,530--more funds came in today from concerned individuals who chose to overcome indifference--who chose to do something to be a part of the solution that's needed.

Very small donations have come in and some larger ones, too--everyone doing their part as they're able, to chip in toward a larger goal--an uprising, a revolution we're starting, to overcome indifference and create a solution to bring hope for these girls!

Help is needed because this is a different kind of poverty. The photos tell it all. Below is a scene I shot in the same colony, where these girls use a crude excuse for a latrine. The raw sewage just trickles down the hill through the same path where they walk barefoot. This is extreme poverty.

This takes a different kind of solution. Yesterday I wrote about the sustainability of our approach at Peace Gospel, how we're working with an empowerment model to multiply donations. That's a model, but not the solution itself. The solution is found in this revolution I've been writing about. It's found in people finally deciding they've heard enough, seen enough, they get it--and finally decide to do something about it. This is the revolution against indifference.

Will you join in? Would you be willing to do something? How about pitching in $1, $5, $10? The average daily earnings from someone living in this colony would be around $1. So for a $5 donation, think about the impact that can have--that's five days' earnings for them. When translated into the impact at our slum education center in this area, reaching these kids, it's literally a matter of offering hope vs. despair, of life vs. death. Just think about the dangers that await these girls if they don't get an education. That's where you can literally intervene and be hope for her.

This is a photo I took when I sat inside one of their homes after sunset. No electricity is present here. Only candles and small lanterns. Here is a symbol of what I'm talking about. Hope in the darkness. You're the flame. Will you shine or will you be the void that remains? It's a tough question, maybe a little harsh to put it in such black and white terms, but one I think is fair when considering what's at stake.

For those of you interested in following along with what I'm able to prepare with just $1/day, here's an account of my meals from today. One of the things you'll notice here is that I'm trying to display the contrast of how I'm virtually living like a king on $1/day compared to what those in the slums deal with on a daily basis.

Breakfast. Thanks to a tip from a friend via Facebook, I tried an egg fried rice with raisins dish, along with the standard oatmeal and raisins. It was a fantastic change and provided great sustenance. Thanks for the tip, Aric!

Lunch. Thanks to a tip from a friend via Instagram, I tried a mixed mashed potatoes & carrots--genius idea, Annetta, and it was just the variety I needed to break up the monotony. Combined with a small serving of pasta, a hard-boiled egg and my usual homemade corn chips, this was off the charts! All for about 30 cents! My kids called this the "birds nest" meal! Trying to keep it creative, I can't help it, I'm an artist!

Dinner. Another variation on the Chinese cabbage coleslaw. This time added baked tortilla strips and rice. No carrots. A few splashes of vinegar I bought from my existing stock. Variety is the key to making it through this "challenge." It's a beautiful meal for a mere 30 cents! Highly recommend this!

Take Action!

1) Please consider giving toward my goal of 10 scholarships for children of the Indian slums. So far we've raised $2,530 of my $5,000 goal to cover 10 scholarships. Every little bit helps!

2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, Amazon.com through this link. 7% of your purchases made through the link are given to Peace Gospel. If you're in the UK, use this link.

3) If you're compelled by my effort here, please share it with friends. The main goal is awareness. So if you can help with that, huge.

4) Leave me feedback. Please comment on this post, especially if you have any ideas about what I should try to cook with these ingredients I have available. I love hearing from you! It really helps!

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