Monday, February 2, 2009

The End of Poverty

This is a beautiful essay written by 15 yr old Steven Fisher in IL. I think it's pretty amazing and I presented it to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky this morning at our RESULTS meeting with her. I wish I had written at this level and about this topic when I was in high school!! Bravo, Steven. -ccyl
For each of us, there are moments of opportunity. The opportunity to turn a page, the opportunity to drink a glass of clean water, the opportunity to sleep on a bed. We are capable of climbing steep mountains because we look around and see our neighbors reach the roof of the world. We learn to hold a blazing torch while running through a crowded stadium or to vote for a chance of change.

But we may overlook a presence not visible within our sight. Their importance so obscure that we may forget them and replace them with shadows. The presences, our relatives, are the people of the African continent. And so I’ve come here to talk today about their state of not having enough money to take care of basic needs. I’ve come here to talk about their state of extreme poverty and our capability to change it.

Today we are under totally different conditions that separate us from Africans. Africans see poverty – as widespread as it may be – as a temporary obstacle to the continent’s future of prosperity. But why should we help them overcome this obstacle? Today it is painfully obvious that no man - and no nation - is an island. We are all a connected global community. They, like everyone else, are our neighbors and will remain so. More importantly, I have been told to love my neighbor as I love myself. I feel we have a global responsibility to support the hosts of men, women, and children who have hardship written on their foreheads. Ending extreme poverty in Africa will require action by the rich as well as the poor. Action that is bold but achievable. To end poverty is not only the conclusion of extreme misery but the launch of progress, hope, and security that accompany development. It is all possible.

The hardest part about action in this framework is getting to the first grips up the ladder of development. We must help lift the many nations in Africa which are stuck at the bottom of the ladder. This has been done before and can be done again. At present we see countries climbing the ladder of development, making progress, even if it is sometimes incredibly slow. My target is to be a part of the generation helping the poor begin their ascent up the ladder.
The conclusion of poverty will require international cooperation. The planet must be ready and willing to submit our time to such cooperation because it makes possible a dream which aims for the well-being of a continent. I dare you, hoping that this larger goal will tie us with universal cooperation, to be the generation that changed a people’s circumstances.

I dare you to provide basic health for Uganda.
I dare you to teach primary education to the children of Rwanda.
I dare you to offer clean drinking water and sanitation to the citizens of Burkina Faso.
I dare you to improve the transport, power, communication, and roads of Tanzania.
I dare you to supply the right nourishment for a person in Somalia to live, grow, and remain healthy.
I dare you to meet these challenges so we can start the way to move forward.
This is my hope

We can all begin our acts of bravery and trust that will shape human history. I hope many of us will have the immensity to shape human history. Let our children talk about us as the generation that fired a grand tide of hope. Let us leave behind our honor, sweat, blood, and even our dust, as the generation that healed the world.

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