10,950,000 people die each year from extreme poverty. It is such a large number that we have difficulty comprehending it. However, when you are talking about almost eleven million deaths it is critically important to remember that each one of these individuals was a human being just like you and me. The number needs to be personalized for the true loss of humanity to sink in. The people who die each year from extreme poverty are not nameless, faceless statistics. They are flesh and blood. Each man, woman or child who dies from needless starvation, or a preventable illness or a curable disease is an equal member of the human family. All of these individuals could have had a positive affect on countless others, but they were denied the opportunity to make their contributions, and the world is a lesser place because of it.

What if you had died before the age of five from a totally preventable cause? How would the world be different without you? Your children would not exist nor would their accomplishments. Any good thing you might have done would not have happened. All the people’s lives you could have touched would be unaffected. When an individual dies from extreme poverty it is, of course, impossible to know what they might have done with their life, what they could have contributed or what their children could have grown up to be. How do we know that the child who starved to death last night wasn’t destined to become a great world leader like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. Perhaps yesterday morning malaria claimed the life of a future Nobel Laureate. Maybe tomorrow the person will die from unsafe drinking water who would have become a research scientist, instrumental in finding a cure for one the world’s fatal diseases.

Any of these people might have contributed in some great way to humanity, but they will never have the chance. The overall good that this many people could have produced in the world is incalculable. That is why the horror of an extreme poverty death is three fold. It is not just the obvious immediate loss for those who loved the deceased, it is also the world’s loss because we are denied the opportunity to benefit from the victim’s abilities, personality and love. And each death diminishes those of us who could have helped save that life and didn’t. Whether through ignorance, apathy or selfishness we each contributed to the 10,950,000 deaths last year.

It is indefensible that we choose not to take action and try to prevent the deaths of innocent people. In the West, a violent criminal is given food, clothing and shelter while 25,000 children, on the other side of the world, are allowed to die needlessly each day. These children have hurt no one. They are not a threat to anyone. They are totally without blame, but we choose to feed, clothe and house the criminal and allow the children to die. How can this be justified? Where is the logic in protecting someone who rapes and kills while at the same time being perfectly willing to let a five year old child starve to death?

Because there are one billion people struggling in extreme poverty, individuals sometimes feel overwhelmed by the size of the problem. They wonder if the small amount of help they can give can really make any difference. But what if your financial contributions helped to save just one life, how important is it? Perhaps the one child you save will eventually grow up to be a doctor, who spends her life saving even more people. Your effort is then multiplied many times over. On the other hand, what if you lived in poverty and the one life that was saved was yours? It would be the most important thing in the world. The people who are dying in extreme poverty feel the same way. They believe that their life matters, and that they deserve the chance to live. EVERY LIFE THAT IS SAVED IS IMPORTANT.

There may well come a day when you will need someone to save your life. Perhaps a paramedic or an emergency room doctor or just a person who happens to know CPR will help you at a critical moment. As you are staring death in the face you will believe, with all your being, that your life is worth saving. Or you may have a son or daughter who is severely injured or becomes gravely ill, you will certainly demand that everything possible be done to save your child’s life. We all believe that we and our loved ones deserve to live. Is this not true for the people trapped in extreme poverty as well? They are just like us. They are equal human beings whose lives are worth saving, just as much as yours or mine.

Please consider the 25,000 children that will needlessly die TODAY without our help. What is more important for us to spend our time, money and resources on than saving these innocent victims? The children that die today will leave this world without having the chance to make a difference. With each death there is a life that was not lived, dreams that were never realized and hopes that were crushed before they could be fulfilled. We will never know the peace, courage, love and joy these small victims could have given to the world over their lifetimes. When we do not make the effort to save the lives of those in extreme poverty we are depriving the world of the talents and abilities of millions of human beings.




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