Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Bottom Billion

I sponsor a child through International Child Care Ministries.  Every Tuesday, they send out an email giving us updates on the work they are doing around the world.  This week's email hurt my heart and I feel burdened to share it.

By Linda Adams
Dessalines, Haiti, March 5, 2012

"Charity is dead!" The co-founder of a wonderful organization that does a lot of good in the world made this bold statement in chapel at a Christian university last week. When he said it, half of me agreed with him.

The "bottom billion" on Planet Earth who barely survive on whatever bit of food they can find from day to day need solutions that are much bigger than charity. They need justice. They need good governments. They need functional economies, safe housing, educational opportunities and more. The solutions need to be as comprehensive as environmental rehabilitation, legal and political reform, microenterprise development and interventions to promote peace. Change must go beyond charity.

But--in the meanwhile--if charity is dead, children die. And they do, every day.

This week I'm in Haiti. It's my ninth visit, and it's still shocking. At ICCM, we tend not to show photos like this of children with bloated bellies and little stick legs, because we want you to see the beautiful, smiling faces of children who are being helped. We want to celebrate transformation.

But in Haiti, the needs far outstrip our resources, even in our own ICCM-sponsored schools. Many unsponsored children come to school, and although their parents are supposed to pay tuition, it is not in the hearts of our school directors to turn them away if they can't pay. Those kids are also hungry - truly, dangerously hungry - so they eat lunch at school along with the sponsored kids. As the school directors say, "If you think we're going to have a lunch room where 50 children eat while 100 children watch, think again!" They would rather feed all the children two days a week than feed only the sponsored children every day.

To our Haitian ICCM school directors, they are living out 1 John 3:17: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" Whatever help comes their way gets spread very thinly. The needs are enormous, and their hearts are just as big.

I get tired of asking for gifts for the Haiti Food Fund, because I think people get tired of hearing about it. But without regular and generous contributions to this fund, kids go hungry. It's that simple. Just like my grocery money at home, that food money gets used up every month! Unlike my grocery money, a few dollars to the Haiti Food Fund go a long, long way. Our Haitian office calculates a child's lunch at 15 cents. Money well spent!

Click here to give to the Haiti Food Fund, or send a check to ICCM Haiti Food Fund, 770 N High School Rd Indianapolis IN 46214, or call us at 800.342.5531.

I don't know what to say.  15 cents.  How can we not give?


  1. this is why the 99% movement in the U.S. is so frustrating to me...

  2. Thanks for sharing, Manda.
    And Rachel, I totally agree!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Manda. Bless you. I got goose bumps when I received the piece from Linda in Haiti via email earlier this morning. - John Franklin Hayt



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