I’m a simple girl. Everyday I follow a similar routine and nothing too interesting or out of the ordinary occurs in my simple life. Living in Mesa, I do not find myself around much poverty, life taking illness, or mass murder. And thus, I grew up thinking it didn’t exist. Or rather was very, very uncommon. Yes, I watched movies and saw homeless men walking down the streets. So in essence, I knew it existed; however, I did not think it was an issue. So I went on with life, with friends, with school. And in my eyes, the world was perfect. I went to the mall and spent $20 on a shirt, or occasionally blew 40 dollars on a pair of shoes. On weekends I would go to restaurants, order huge entrees that were way overpriced, only eat about half the portion, and leave the rest for trash. And I never thought twice about it---until recently.
In my junior English course, my teacher taught my class an important, eye-opening lesson. One day, mid-way into the year, students shuffled silently into class: bored, tired, hungry, and opposed to being there. The teacher was silent and one word was written on the board in bold, dark letters. DARFUR. What did it mean? Nobody knew. The teacher stood at the front of the class, asked if anyone could tell the rest of the class what DARFUR was, and waited. The seconds passed on. Nothing. Nobody raised their hand. Nobody could answer. So, she sent us off to the library to research the topic and complete a project on the situation. As I began to research the word I was astonished. Headlines flooded the search engine. Photos of death and sadness flashed across the screen. My mind was a whirlwind. Genocide? Mass rape? Children displacement? And it had been going on for years. How could I possible be so ignorant as to not even know that this was occurring? Then it hit me. I live in a bubble. The people around me have jobs, have money, have hospital access. I live in a free country with a government that doesn’t try to rule my life. But that doesn’t mean that everyone lives in those same conditions.
I made it my commitment from then on to be more aware of the world around me. I read news articles daily, researched topics, and donated to organizations. Since then, I have found several other groups of people who are in need of help. I’ve found that there are so many ways to get involved and make a difference in the world around you. Here are a few that you can help with too:
Save Darfur– Learn more about the issue. View pictures. Buy wristbands. Donate money. Join your local save Darfur organization.
Invisible Children – Children in Uganda are being displaced from their homes. Learn more about what they are being put through at this website. Order bracelets made by children themselves and sent to your house with a video of a child and their story.
Rwanda Baskets - Beautiful hand-woven baskets made by women in Rwanda. Part of the proceeds go back to these women to help them feed their children and gain a healthy lifestyle . To learn more or purchase a basket go to this site or visit a Macys near you.
Heifer International– An organization that lets you send different animals to families around the world. Give a llama, a flock of geese, a water buffalo, or various other animals. This will not only help them now, it will continue to help families in the future. On the site, you can find out more about where your animal is going to, and exactly what that specific animal can do to help a family in need. As weird as this sounds, it actually helps.
I personally have joined the Save Darfur organization and sent various letters trying to spread the word and help the cause. I bought a bracelet from Invisible Children. And yes, I wear it ALL THE TIME. Really seriously. I think it’s really cute! With the help of my government class last year, I donated a llama to the Heifer Organization. I have yet to buy a Rwanda basket, but I hope to in the future. Also, a friend of mine is helping organize a run for life for the Stay Alive foundation. It will take place on Saturday, September 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 A.M. at the Centre Community Court of the Estate Groves neighborhood on Brown and 40th Street. To register and learn more visit www.stayalive.org and click on the Run for Life icon at the bottom right hand of the screen.
Anyway…thanks for listening to me ramble about saving the world. But really, you feel so good when you do something to help! If you have any questions…just ask me! :]]]]