Often times, when someone invites you to care or give to a cause like extreme global poverty, it's easy to feel guilty or overwhelmed. We want neither. We simply want to remind people that:
1. We can actually make a difference. We don't have to be rock stars, millionaires, or on Hollywood's A-List to realize that we can make an impact in the lives of many.
2. Guilt isn't the motivation but rather Hope, Courage, & Beauty. We're excited to share with you some amazing stories of women, men, children, and organizations around the world that are doing some amazing work.
If we could, we'd like to take this moment to share our story with you.
We're your average family. We live in Seattle. We 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.
- About 25,000 children under the age of 5 die each day due to poverty-related causes – and mostly due to preventable and treatable diseases.
- 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.
We've always known of the disparity in the world; Always knew the statistics. In fact, we've memorized them, blogged about them, and even taught about them. But it was traveling to a few places and seeing with our own eyes the faces, stories, children, and families behind the numbers that “wrecked” our lives. While we indeed saw some incredibly painful realities, we 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.
We're not naive. We know that global poverty is very complex but we believe it still needs to be simple:
It shouldn't be this way and doesn't have to be this way. We have to believe it: In our lifetime, we can eradicate extreme global poverty.
These are some of the reasons that compelled us to make some life decisions and start One Day's Wages. We made a decision to donate our 2009 salary ($68,000) to organizations fighting extreme global poverty and in doing so, invite our family, friends, and the rest of the world to consider donating just their “one day's wages” and lending their voices as part of this movement. Imagine the impact if thousands or millions donated their one day's wages and every year on their birthdays (at the minimum), they renewed their pledge of donating one day's wages to the movement of ending extreme global poverty.
One Day's Wages =
about 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 and more importantly, for these fellow human beings. 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. As you look through our website, we hope you sense how much we care extreme poverty, compassion and justice, transparency, and our desire to partner and collaborate. 100% of your donations go to projects and organizations you choose through our website.
We hope that you'll take some time to learn about our story and vision, consider starting your personal campaigns, and joining the movement.
On Behalf of the ODW Team,
Eugene & Minhee