Once your eyes have been opened, it’s impossible not to see.
About a year ago, I started heavily researching adoption from China. Adoption had always (though secretly) had a place in my heart, and the only international program I had any familiarity with was the China program. I learned as much as I possibly could about orphans in China. My heart was broken for little girls who were abandoned by their parents and “defective” children who were thrown away because they weren’t perfectly healthy. I started following adoption blogs and reading the first-hand accounts of families that grew through adoption, and all I could think about was having a beautiful Chinese baby of my own.
And then I learned about the orphan crisis in Africa and was exposed to a whole different world. I have read about unimaginable conditions- children left to die of malaria, without anyone to comfort or care for them; children starving to death in the streets; children being forced into slavery and nobody caring because they’re orphans. It’s just beyond my comprehension. It’s insane that malaria is so devastating in Africa- it’s curable, and the pill only costs around $10. Children and families are dying because they can’t afford a $10 pill.
This week I learned about NTDs- Neglected Tropical Diseases. It’s even more ridiculous to me that these are still a rampant problem in developing countries. The “Big 7” are elephantiasis, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, trachoma, river blindness and snail fever, all of which combined infect over half a billion children. These diseases are 100% curable, and it costs about 50 cents to treat a person for a full year. 50 cents.
End7 is an organization that is working to eradicate the Big 7 by the 2020. This week they’re the featured charity on Sevenly, which is how I found out about them. 100% of all donations to End7 go to NTD treatment in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. They’ve done the math on how much it costs to get treatment to one person, so you literally get to choose how many people you want to help. You can either donate here or purchase a shirt on Sevenly– every shirt purchase helps 14 children. I purchased this shirt:
Every time I hear about something horrible that children and families in developing countries are dealing with, I stop and think about my life and my “first world problems.” Do I feel guilty that I have such a good life? Absolutely not. But I do feel the need to give back to those who don’t. Think about how often we spend 50 cents on something without even thinking about it. I easily spend $10 a month in the vending machine at work. Why not take that $10 (that I spend on things I don’t need, and probably shouldn’t be eating anyway) and use it to protect 20 children from NTDs for a year? Instead of blowing $25 on a new pair of sandals, why not use that money to sponsor an orphan and guarantee they get food this month?
My eyes have been opened to the struggles and horrors that affect children around the world, and I can’t just sit by and watch it happen.