Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sichuan Earthquake

All of us were devastated to hear of the earthquake in China a week ago. The numbers of lives lost and children left orphaned is still unknown. Family members are still searching for each other, and rubble is still being sifted. But, in all the devastation, stories of wonderful acts of kindness are emerging.

I recently received some of the most heartwarming pictures I've ever seen. The Mama's Wish program supports orphaned and severely impoverished girls by providing them with the opportunity to receive a high school and college education. These girls come to school with very little, and completely rely on sponsors for their financial support. Many attend the Tongren school in the Qinghai. We were expecting to hear the worst news about these amazing girls, but were thrilled to learn that all of the Mama's Wish girls and their teachers were safe after the earthquake hit.

What was equally overwhelming to me was the generosity these extremely poor children have shown in the face of the devastation. Students wrote our facilitator in China expressing their concern for her and her family. But more than that, they participated in a fundraiser at their school for victims of the earthquake. At first glance you might not think much about that. But what must be understood is that these girls don't have the $1 US it costs to take the bus home on the weekend. Their families, if they have one, have an average income of less than $100 a year. Many have seen family members die because of untreated, basic illnesses.

And yet, they lined up to help those less fortunate.

I have always said that the kids in our programs are my heroes. They take the worst circumstances and completely change lives....their own and others. I am honored to know them.

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