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Today is Blog Action Day. Each year bloggers around the world devote a post to writing on a worthy cause. Last year it was the environment, this year it is poverty.
There is no good reason for poverty to exist.
As Gandhi reputedly said, “We have enough for everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed.”
This is still true.
Whatever your politics, whatever your preferences there are options available to participate in ending poverty. There are the large scale ‘everyone is welcome’ groups with little ideology at all like Make Poverty History. They have a nice approach of ‘let’s have some fun while we do it’ and so put on concerts and such.
There is the small scale and local. There will be local efforts in your own city and perhaps your own neighbourhood.
If you lean to the left (like me – who is regarded by some as so far to the left as to have fallen off the twig) there are any number of charities and NGO’s who need support and finance.
If you lean to the right and dislike charity (I share the empowerment agenda of this group) there are micro-finance organisations. Probably the most famous is the Grameen Bank, but there are lots of others – including the Australian-born Opportunity International (I’m an Australian).
At the humble level of everyday shopping there is now a choice. Labelling such as fair trade gives us some way to choose companies that are working to make trade fairer and so reduce poverty.
If your faith community is very important to you, it will have a poverty alleviation arm of some kind. If you are secular and hostile to any form of faith there are secular organisations engaged in fighting poverty.
To help end poverty you don’t need to change your values or political allegiance. You probably don’t need to change your thinking or lifestyle terribly much (just buying one fair trade item in your weekly shopping makes it’s own small contribution). You just need to take one action – make it as big or small as you like, but do it.
For me, blogging fits well with the attempt to end poverty. It is information freely available to anyone who can connect to the worldwideweb. Thanks to the One Laptop Per Child initiative this will soon include many people who would not normally be able to do this.
Join me in ending poverty. It will add dignity to your life and we can have fun and make deeper friendships based on common values while doing it. Take the first step, whichever one suits you.
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