Category Archives: Helping Youth

Our Opportunity is Great, & Rare –

Today I woke up and did something new, well I should rephrase that and say I did something today I have not done in a long time. (I have to admit.) I  read the mission of our practice, my mission, that I wrote, before my practice was what it is today, before what it will be tomorrow, before what it will be next year, and always moving forward.
When I look back years from now, here is what we will still be living by:
Never forget we are in a powerful position. Not many people have our opportunity. Never forget our opportunity is great and rare and make every moment count. Live with gratitude and use our position to inspire others to reach their dreams, whatever they are, always.”
About 6pm tonight I had a decision, my toughest decision yet today to make. Either dent my sea of emails (that kept flowing in), or make an impact now. We all could have tons of excuses as to why we can’t commit to make our mark now- its 6pm and this person needs a reply, I have a 7am meeting tomorrow-these are all reasons I could have used. But never forget we are in a powerful position… I didn’t need to read the rest of my mission and value proposition, to myself, again. I looked up the World Affairs  agenda for tonight.
I’ve passed by the World Affairs Council more times than I can count. Yet I have not stopped in, especially not on a workday Tuesday night. But why? An impact on myself, my education, about specifically, tonight,  “Global Poverty, What Everyone Needs to Know” sounded intriguing.
A big cause of mine already is economic empowerment, many of you know, and particularly financial literacy for children, women, young adults, and professionals (well really everyone – I’m truly happy to help impact anyone who is of high integrity and high quality). So just how great is this cause, and where are the main areas it comes from, I wondered.
A quick Google search on child poverty in specific pulled up one alarming statistic: of 35 developed countries the US has the highest rate of poverty second only to Romania (with all due respect that doesn’t say alot considering the history). One out of every five American children live in poverty.
Tom Nazario, founder and president of The Forgotten International was the speaker tonight, and here are just a few of his points:
160,000,000 women are missing in Southeast Asia. (Yes that is 160,000,000- I had to correct myself when I was taking notes I dropped down the zeros after copying them verbatim then realized I did copy them correctly- there are 7 0’s, plus two more digits to communicate factually the number of women missing in Southeast Asia.)
Yes- women typically live longer than men, most people know, yet women are currently outnumbered by men worldwide.
Women are missing for no reason any more significant other than because they are women, and thereby viewed as less tough and strong than men, young boys in particular in this case. In SouthEast Asia, it is extremely common for example after the ultrasound of a baby to determine the child’s sex these days, and use that information to abort the pregnancy if it’s a girl, and take further measures to eliminate the lives of girls. This is today, not last year, and not thirty years ago. This is right now.
Right now 19,000 children die every day for no reason other than the fact they are too poor to live.
As it stands 55% of the poor, those who are under the baseline of poverty, currently live off of the land or sea, and these 40,000,000 people  feed over 50% of the population with the food they produce.
I can’t help but beg the question – what are we all going to do as climates continue to effect our environment and cut into our crops, lakes and other bodies of water continue drying up, sea plants such as water hyacinth continue to invade and take over, and essentially make sealife unavailable all together for fishermen access, cutting off food supplies, and essentially mass migration will happen and go where?
Right now, 1/3 of the world population is  considered “moderately poor-“ that is billions of people who are making less than around $2 per day. 1/6 of the world population (still over a 1 billion people, that is 1,000,000,000 people) live off less than $1 a day.
Do you ever wonder what these 1,000,000,000 people are doing every day, what their lives consist of?
Here’s a personal story Tom spoke about: A single mother with kids was living in a home somewhere, let’s say anywhere, it was some country, a nice home, with lots of land, and a cattle, one cattle, that was all she needed. One night her cow was attacked, and by the time she woke up it was dead and its carcas was being devoured by the animals and birds out front of her home. There was nothing she could do to stop it from being devoured. She watched it devastated, and there was nothing that she could do.That was it, everything. In those moments while the wildlife was eating her cattle out front of her home, a nice home especially relative to the area, and she was watching everything she had go down the drain.
There’s multiple key roles that one cattle played: That cattle produced the milk for her youngest infant. The leftover milk she used to generate some income. If her landlord ever tried to take her home from her, she felt secure because she would just sell her cattle (she had to stay in the home, her family lived off the crop). If the crops had a bad year, she could sell the cattle, make some money, good money, or even use it to feed her family. Her youngest infant depended on that cattle for more than just milk, it was all her nutrition, and so did her other small children. By losing that one cattle, she ended up losing her youngest infant. The infant, her infant, died, from malnutrition. Nothing else. Malnutrition from the lack of that one cattle caused her infant child to die. This woman lost much more too you see, she lost everything, she lost everything from that one cattle. If her landlord came for her home, she had nothing to barter with, if crops were bad one year she had no cattle left for the children to eat, at this point you get to see how substantial of an issue this one cattle is, and there’s tons more women like her, you could continue as to why a cattle is so important to so many.
Her story begs the question: how much does a cattle cost? As little as $150. We can start an organization or find an organization already established – and each one of us donate a cattle to the cause, even just one cattle can save a life, and sustain life for many. Cattle for a Cause. (Did anyone think of that?) We could think about it as we are in a powerful position. Not many people have our opportunityNever forget our opportunity is great and rare. (We have only have 3% of the world’s population of children, and one of every second child born in this world, that is one out of every two children, is currently in poverty and will continue to live in poverty.) Our opportunity is rare. Make every moment count. Live with gratitude, and use our position to inspire others to reach their dreams  whatever they are, always.
I know a great person who I’m sure could help make our cattle dollars, cattle.
Is this important to you? If so, please visit http://www.theforgottenintl.org/donate.html
What’s your impact? Please tell us what you did. Together, let’s move mountains.
Want more information?
Check out this Washington Post article, these stats from various sources, more information about the issue of the water hyacinth and drought particularly in Lake Victoria, and this video.
Thanks, #impact

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Filed under Giver, Helping Youth, Insider Insight, Leader, Overcoming, Positioning, Rerouting, reward, Social Justice, Staying In, Vertical, Working Hard

Q & A with NYOF Founder Olga Murray

A few days ago I had the good fortune of doing a Q & A with Olga Murray. Soon before her retirement from practicing law in San Francisco she was trekking the Himalayan Mountains when she broke her leg. A local porter carried her for days, which significantly touched Murray, and then she was moved again by the countless children at the hospital with such terrible disabilities and bleak resources. So soon after her fall—in 1984, she started to work with children in Nepal. In 1990 she founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. NYOF’s mission is to empower the youth of Nepal—and already their successes include freeing over five-thousand girls from bondage. But even after around two decades of service, Murray says she believes that there is still much work to be done. The eighty-four-year-old Californian volunteers full time to lead her causes forward, even living much of her time in Kathmandu, where she was when I interviewed her. Below is her insight:

When and why did you get into service work? Because I was approaching retirement, always had an interest in children, and wanted to do something to help them.

Before NYOF how did you picture retirement? I thought I would work as an advocate for a child in court or tutor at a community center, but I fell in love with the children of Nepal when I came trekking here in 1984, and decided that I would work with impoverished children here.

How did you start the nonprofit? NYOF developed organically, driven by the needs of children in Nepal. We started out by giving scholarships to orphans, but expanded to other programs when we encountered children in dire circumstances who really needed help.

How did you obtain support? At first, through friends. Later, we became more organized, wrote grant applications to foundations, and increased our donor base through publicity.

Is the work what you expected? Why or why not? The work has far exceeded my expectations both in scope and [in] the amount of satisfaction I get every day from knowing that we are providing a better life to thousands of Nepali children.

What were the needs you were originally filling? At first, we started by giving college scholarships, but eventually [we] increased our scholarship base to disabled children, those whose parents could not afford primary school, those who had no homes, and poor children in villages so that today we support thousands of youngsters in school, from kindergarten to medical school.

How have those needs evolved? They evolved from our observations about the needs of children in Nepal. When many children were dying or became stunted because of malnutrition, we began a nutritional rehabilitation home to restore them to health and educate their mothers about child care. [Today NYOF has restored the health of more than five thousand children and has educated thousands.] We now have ten such facilities all over the country. When we learned that little girls were being bonded away for fifty dollars a year for labor, we began a program to eradicate the practice, which is now on the verge of success. [Estimates are that around 1200 girls, which is twenty percent of the former total number, still need to be rescued from bondage.] When we discovered children who had no homes and no hope for an education, we established two homes for children—one for boys and one for girls.

What are your largest setbacks? Lack of funds. We could do so much more if we had more money.

What, if you can distinguish one, is your most touching experience in Nepal? My relationship with the children at our children’s homes is the most touching experience here. I see them come in as neglected, malnourished little waifs and leave to go to college as confident, happy young people ready to give back to society.

What is your typical work day like? I spend a good part of the day on the computer keeping in touch with donors and our office. In Nepal I also do this, but I also spend time with the children at our children’s homes and visit our projects.

Who are your idols and why them? The usual caste of characters—Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, The Dalai Lama, because they have found a way to encourage people to live in harmony together.

What are your future goals? To expand NYOF’s activities. So much needs to be done in Nepal, and we have a local staff and organization that is able, passionate about children, and could provide for their needs.

What advice do you have for people who want to get involved? Go to our website and find a program they are interested in. If they wish to do so, they can donate money to help the children of Nepal.

Want to help Murray but don’t know where to begin? Go here. For additional nonprofits click here.

Need more information about NYOF? Read on here.

Concerned about legitimacy? Be assured NYOF is authentic by contacting them here or visiting their newsroom here.

Photos are reproduced with permission from Gregg Tully of NYOF.

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