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Eugene Cho Headshot

$44.38 in Perspective

Posted: Updated:

2010-09-24-msmayo.jpg

We've heard much about the influence of billionaires, celebrities, and rock stars in the engagement against injustice and extreme poverty.

I have nothing against them. I think most of them are cool. I hope some of them return my phone calls and emails. [PS: Dear Bono: Call me!]

While there's much to applaud and celebrate, we can't do it at the expense of abdicating our own personal responsibility -- time, energy, finances, and voice. As we mark the end of another MDG summit at UNICEF, each one of us must ask ourselves,

"How will I be personally be engaged?"

This is the vision of One Day's Wages -- a new movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. In this vision, we want to remind each and every person that we can all make a dramatic difference in the world.

Here's an example:

We recently received a donation of coins. In fact, it was literally hundreds of coins. The coins came from Ms. Mayo's 1st grade class at Whittier Elementary School.

The total amount from these 1st grade students?

$44.38

I know what most of you are thinking:

"Nice story but does it really matter?

You're right. It won't change the entire world but let's put it in some perspective:

  • Approximately 80% of the world live on less than $10/day.
  • Approximately three billion people live on less than two dollars/day
  • Approximately 1.4 billion people live on or less than $1.25/day (the definition of extreme global poverty).

Want More Perspective?

  • $20 provides one person clean water for 20 years.
  • $10 can purchase a bed net to help prevent malaria.
  • $45 can pay the annual school tuition for one child in numerous parts of the world.
  • $100 can provide a woman with a sewing machine, training, a goat, and a fresh start kit.

Yes, you're absolutely right that $44.38 won't end global poverty but let's give our cynicism a rest:


It can impact some person's life.

And by someone, we're not talking about a fictitious and nebulous statistic but a real person...a real human being. I love Mother Teresa's wisdom:

If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.

- Eugene Cho | Founder of One Day's Wages

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