The Story of One Day's Wages

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Eugene Cho Follower of the Way, Humanitarian, Pastor, Activist

I'd like take this moment to briefly share my story with you.

My family and I live in Seattle. My wife and I fell in love and married in 1997 and have three young children. We're neither rich nor poor; simply a middle-class family with privilege because we know that we have so many opportunities that many in the world do not have. The numbers surrounding extreme poverty are staggering:

  • About 25,000 children under the age of five die each day due to poverty-related causes.
  • Nearly 900 million people do not have access to clean water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
  • Nearly 11,500 people die every day from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

My wife and I have always known of the disparity in the world; Always knew the statistics. In fact, I've memorized them, blogged about them, and even taught and preached about them. But it was traveling to a few places and seeing with my own eyes the faces, stories, children, and families behind the numbers that "wrecked" my life. While I did indeed see some incredibly painful realities, I also witnessed beautiful and inspiring glimpses of hope, courage, and strength in communities, organizations, women, men, and children as they sought to uplift themselves out of poverty -- if only shown dignity, respect, and the opportunities to pursue basic human rights.

Yes, I know...Global poverty is very complex but it also needs to be simple:

It shouldn't be this way and doesn't have to be this way.
We have to believe it and pursue it:
We can eradicate extreme global poverty in our lifetime.

These are some of the reasons that compelled my wife and I and our three children to make some life decisions and start One Day's Wages -- a 501(c)(3) organization and international grassroots movement dedicated to ending extreme global poverty. We made a decision to donate our 2009 income ($68,000) to the cause of fighting extreme global poverty and in doing so, we also wanted to invite our family, friends, and the rest of the world to consider donating just their "one day's wages" and lend their voices as part of this movement.

One Day's Wages = 0.4% of one's annual income -->
Significant Impact for those living in Extreme Poverty

While we've received our share of questions and criticisms, we decided to make our donation public not because we wanted pats on our back but to let people know that we weren't going to ask people to do something we weren't willing to do ourselves.

We are certainly not the first and thankfully, we will not be the last to care about these issues. There are some incredible organizations and individuals doing amazing work. Our goal is not to re-invent the wheel but rather to partner and collaborate with individuals, organizations, and advocacy groups.

We're immensely excited about the vision of One Day's Wages. We hope that you'll take two minutes to visit our website and consider donating 0.4% of your income (or another amount) to join this movement in fighting extreme global poverty. 100% of your donations go to projects and organizations you choose through our website. Even if you aren't able or choose not to donate, I encourage you to create a profile to show your support.

We don't have to be rock stars, millionaires, or on Hollywood's A-list to make a difference in the world. We just need to do our part...

Follow us on Twitter @OneDaysWages