Last Updated on by Elena Ciobanu

Some insomnia

3:50 a.m. today, I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m in Florida for five days visiting my Mom and Dad. My sister and brother-in-law join us tomorrow.

I don’t think that’s why I have insomnia. My relationship with my family wasn’t always perfect, but it’s much better now.

I used to think the problems were mostly others’ fault. I still think there were things they could’ve done better. But a big part of why the relationship is better is I’ve changed how I relate to them.

The importance of re-creation

These five days are my longest vacation since visiting China for three weeks in October 2004. I’ll write more on China next week.

I think it’s important to take time off, even if you enjoy and strongly believe in what you do, as I do.

In the past I’ve worked up to seven days a week on Hearts & Minds. Burnout was sometimes a serious problem for me. I concluded I’ll do more in the long run with a more balanced life.

I’m doing a fair amount of work these five days in Florida, writing a manual to guide local, grassroots lobbing offices for our Global Poverty Campaign. I guess you could include this blog as part of my work, though it’s nice to share what’s going on with me .

I’m also taking time to relax, time for re-creation. I can then return to the office re-energized for our Poverty Campaign.

In the quiet of this early morning, I’m thinking about global poverty, how much we can change, what’s already happening and what may never happen, if we don’t make it happen.

I’m thinking over the abstract statistics on global poverty and its solution. How can we make those come alive for the public? How can we inspire people to support the best, most creative, proven solutions for poverty that could help hundreds of millions more people?

Massive stats

There’s plenty of statistics and proposals on world poverty:

850 million people are hungry
1.2 billion living on less than a dollar a day
1990 Millennium Development Goals hope to cut poverty in half by 2015
Hearts & Minds’ proposal to end extreme poverty

Some good questions

What do these stats really mean for people in poverty?

What does all this poverty really mean to us?

What does any of this have to do with me?

These are good questions, and the answers are more interesting than many people think…

Distant poverty

For far too many people, global poverty seems far away. It doesn’t affect them much. They assume there will always be poverty, it’s something they can’t do much about, it’s not their fault…

Fortunately – and unfortunately – none of this is exactly true. Why fortunately? How unfortunately?

Fortunately because once people understand, they’ll support programs to help end poverty much more quickly. Unfortunately, until they do, millions more people will suffer and die tragically and needlessly.

A host of false assumptions

Let’s look at some assumptions:

Poverty anywhere in the world threatens us right here. It can – and often does – lead to political instability, war, refugee crises, epidemics and terrorism…

There is a cure for poverty. Hundreds of millions of people have escaped poverty. But 1.2 billion people still suffer extreme poverty. They live on less than a dollar a day. And every one of them matters, just as you and I matter. That’s the human side of all the statistics.

And all of this can change, as it has many times in history…

A couple hundred years ago, the quality of life in today’s wealthy countries was similar to what we now see in Africa and Asia.

We escaped poverty and others can, too. The most effective programs benefit from understanding what worked for the West – and what can work even better for today’s poorer nations.

There are proven methods to escape poverty:
You Can Help End Global Hunger and Poverty

You can join us to support programs to end extreme poverty – at surprising low cost especially considering how much it will benefit hundreds of millions of people in poverty. It will also greatly benefit us with a more just, sustainable and safer world.

Every person makes a big difference. You can. And it’s easy to Join Us.

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