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Eugene Cho

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Dear World: Please Wake Up!

Posted: 08/12/11 11:34 AM ET

Numerous sources have stated that over 12 million people are being impacted by the worst drought & famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Included in that figure are 600,000 Somali children that are on the brink of starving to death.

12 million people.

How do you wrap your head around such a number?

12,000,000.

You begin with one.

The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17...

as in seventeen cents.

These statistics are overwhelming, but while we may not be able to remedy, fix, or respond to the entire situation, we must respond. I'm often reminded of Mother Teresa's wisdom and quote:

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

Over the years, I've grown very uncomfortable (and at times, angry) at what I consider to be borderline exploitation of images (and people) used by nonprofit organizations to solicit donations. It's not that I don't understand the realities of suffering and extreme poverty, because I do know. I've seen them many times with my own eyes. I have held children in my arms.

It's just that they're the only images shown or displayed...

It strips away a sense of human dignity.

And so, it's with reticence that I show the picture taken by Tyler Hicks of the NY Times from the Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Is it to invite donations? In part.

But more importantly, it's to tell people:

Dear World: Please wake up!

This and other "worse" images are real and are from real events happening to real people right now.

I get it. We're all exhausted. We're all concerned about the economy, the budget, issues in our own backyard, our personal finances, our churches, etc. Heck, we all did our part in Haiti and Japan. We all have other commitments and causes. We belong to "other tribes" that do work in "other" parts of the world.

I get it. I really do. You're tired. We're all fatigued.

But don't mistake donor fatigue with compassion fatigue.

Never stop caring. You can't wrap our head around suffering without your heart. We still need to respond to this epic humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa that Oxfam is predicting may grow to impact 15 million people.

Please help.

Support your 'trusted' or "favorite" organizations or effective organizations (via ONE) already on the ground. For those that are looking for a partner, I personally invite you to consider One Day's Wages Horn of Africa Relief Fund.

We can't just do nothing. Give. Share. Pray. Do anything but nothing. Dear World: Please Wake up!

 

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