Today is World AIDS Day.
My own personal experience with AIDS is emotionally rooted in the 80s when the whispers began and when many of my friends and colleagues began to die. Those experiences are for another day, a different post.
I wish to be hopeful and productive today.
There is much to learn and much to do, and all of it is possible.
I would like you to visit my friend Maithri. His blog THE SOARING IMPULSE is a place of endless inspiration to me and his words offer comfort and revelation. He has posted the story of ‘Googoo’ and her children. It is a story that can be told far too many times.
And please take a look at his sidebar. There are places to visit where you can read more of his personal journey and where you can find out how to help.
It isn’t often that a person can say they know a hero but by getting to know Maithri I can say that I do.
Another site to visit is AVERT.ORG
Their opening page will lead wherever you have the time and heart to go. The site opens with ...
World AIDS Day
What will you be doing on December 1st? We have loads of great ideas for marking this year's World AIDS Day and showing you care. Whether online, on your own or as part of an event, you're sure to find at least one inspiring idea in our World AIDS Day page.
This time of year always makes me think of children. My son, my nieces and nephew and children around the world. Children are all we have for the future.
According to AVERT.ORG …
An estimated 15 million children have lost at least one parent to AIDS. Around 80% of these orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa, the world's worst affected region. Traditionally these children would have been supported by their extended families. However, the epidemic is now so severe in some countries that family structures cannot cope, and many orphans are forced to live in child-headed households.
I grew up in a child-headed household. I was the head of that household, dragging my brothers and sister along with me. Our situation was created by alcoholism and mental illness. We lived in a place where there was food and shelter and many neighbors to help as best they could.
And still we didn’t quite make it out …
Each of us carries many scars. My sister’s burden was so heavy that she ended her life. One of my brothers found the only way he could survive was to deny the past and turn away from us.
And so I feel a kinship with these AIDS orphans. My worst childhood day still could not be as difficult as their everyday.
At ALTGIFTS.ORG I found these statistics …
For the cost of a hair cut:
Buy one children's book shared by hundreds in a year in Mexico
For the cost of a CD player:
Provide one day in-hospital stay for one patient in Egypt
For the cost of a 30 minutes massage:
Buy one share of environmental solution in Haiti
For the cost of an iPod video:
Provide education for one child for one year.
Back when I worked for the ‘Evil Empire Corporation’ I made an incredible salary and I am proud to say I spent a lot of it on other people. My motives were often selfish – to ease my own pain, to feel less helpless and invisible in the world, to help with the guilt I felt at being part of the management team of a life sucking corporation.
Today I am where many Americans are. Struggling to pay the mortgage and bowed over by the cost of health insurance. And still my life is so much easier than a child raising other children in a land that often seems to have been forgotten.
CHARITY NAVIGATOR advises …
Marry philanthropy and gift giving: In this slowed economy, many Americans will have less to spend on charity and consumer purchases this year. But they can do double duty with each dollar by engaging in philanthropic shopping. Consumers that buy directly from their favorite, well-run charities, rather than purchasing cause-related products from retailers, make the biggest philanthropic impact.
I believe that the feeling of joy in being part of helping one person, one child, is infinitely greater than all the gifts we could possibly exchange this holiday season.
Monday, December 1, 2008
World AIDS Day
Today is World AIDS Day.