Monday, October 17, 2011

How we can end hunger in Africa.

This is a speech I found that I wrote for speech class during my sophomore year of high school.  It isn't great writing, but it's definitely interesting.  I nearly forgot about this.  Surely something to think about.

Lavin Atieno lives in Kisumu, Kenya. She is nine years old. Her father is jobless. Her mother makes only $22.50 a month. That is not enough money to keep one person alive, and yet Lavin’s mother has to find ways to support a family of three. Lavin lives in a single-room mud shack in the middle of the third largest city in Kenya. Without a sponsor to provide food, healthcare, and a proper education for her, Lavin would have no hope for a future.

I have sponsored Lavin since she was ten years old with my monthly allowance and because of this, I know that there is one more child in the world that has hope for a better life.

You or your family may sponsor a child- you may even sponsor more than one- but did you know that there are still millions of children around the world without food, healthcare, or an education? In fact, if they held hands, they would circle the globe. There are so many children all around the world that are suffering, but today I am only going to focus on Africa.

According to the World Population Prospects of 2006, which is the most recent census taken of the earth, there are approximately 400 million children in Africa from the ages of 0-14.

Let’s stop talking about this for a moment and talk about you. Do your parents use credit cards? Do you have a credit card? Did you know that as of June, 2008, the debt accumulated in America from credit cards this year equals 968,400,000,000 million dollars? That is a lot of money!

I believe that credit cards are unnecessary because they encourage immediate satisfaction and they put you in debt that is very difficult to work off. In fact, Governor Sarah Palin said at her vice presidential debate last week, and I quote, “We don’t need to live outside of our means.”

Now you may be thinking, “Thanks for the lecture, but what does any of this have to do with Africa?” Let me give you some facts.

According to the Christian Relief Fund, it cost $360 a year to sponsor one child. Do you realize that this is less than what some of you spent on your phone?

There is $145,260,000,000 in credit card interest per year owed to credit card companies.  If you would like to do the math with me, then you can divide 360 into 145,360,000,000. If you are using your calculator, you may want to divide 1,452.6 times ten to the eighth, because the number I mentioned earlier is too large to fit into a calculator screen. If you divide these numbers, it equals 403,500,000.

That means that 400,500,000 children that could be sponsored with only the interest owed to credit card companies in America every year. Remember how I said earlier that there are currently 400 million children in Africa. This means that if we stopped using credit cards, then simply the interest of our debt could feed all of the children in Africa.

In conclusion, I am going to give you God’s view on feeding the poor. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

You may want to tell me, “Every time I get a World Vision magazine in the mail, or see a Compassion International video at a concert, I feel sorry for the children and maybe even say a little prayer for the children- that God will give them a meal today or provide them a place to sleep tonight.” Feeling sorry for the children is not enough. James 2:15-16 says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about it, then what good is it?”

It is not up to us as Christians to simply pray. It is up to us as Christians to act upon our prayers. I am not going to tell you how to live your life, but I want to make you think on what I am telling you today. Which is most important: material possessions or children’s lives?

Lastly, I am going to quote Jared Diamond from the National Geographic magazine. He says, “Is the African continent doomed eternally to wars, poverty, and devastating diseases? Absolutely not,” and I believe this with all of my heart.

Isn’t giving up credit cards and living inside of our means worth it if because of it we could begin to heal a starving world?

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