Eugene Cho

Invest in women and girls around the world as an affirmation of dignity that has already been given to them by God.

This is one of the reasons why my wife, kids, and I started One Day’s Wages. It’s because we believe in local heroes like Diana Keesiga who was  born in Western Uganda and at a very young age decided she wanted to be an engineer. She defies the dangerous stereotypes that we have about Africans being absolutely lost and helpless without Western saviors or only looking for handouts. Diana has a love and understanding of her Ugandan people and culture that we will never fully grasp – which is why its best for us to come alongside people like Diana but we should never take their place.

In doing the work of justice, one of the most fundamental questions we must ask is this:

“Who are we trying to elevate? The people we serve or ourselves?

I dare you to watch this short video (above) about Diana and the water partnership between One Day’s Wages and The Adventure Project – that is currently being featured on Upworthy. There are many but here are four reasons why I love this partnership:

1 in 3 water wells are broken in Africa

While there are few things in development as spectacular as seeing water gush out of the ground after a well is drilled, what happens in year 2, 5, and 10 is far more important and difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

A story of courage and generosity: Youth Pastor donates half of his salary to fight human trafficking.

* UPDATE: Amazing. Not only because Joon donated half of his youth pastor salary ($10,000) but in his attempt to get that matched through family, friends, and strangers…a total anonymous stranger (after reading his story) made a donation of $8,085 to help him reach $20,000 for the Human Trafficking Fund.

—————————————————–

You have to read this email I recently received. Crazy, radical, and an amazing story of courage and generosity.

First, let me set the table:

We all love our stuff. All of us. We all consume. We all get sucked into the lifestyle of  upward mobility. This is most apparent during the festivities that surround Black Friday, Cyberspace Monday, and Christmas shopping.

This isn’t a guilt trip but to simply state that which is obvious. What I do want to state is the importance of us also growing a culture of generosity in our lives. Generosity isn’t just for others…but also for us:

Generosity isn’t just merely for the sake of blessing OTHERS. Even more so, it’s to rescue US from the abyss of our greed.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

Let me share a crazy story of generosity and a reminder – once more – that you don’t have to be a rock star, a billionaire, or a celebrity to make an impact.

Recently, I received an email from a youth pastor named Joon Park  from Florida. I’ve never met him, don’t know him, and never heard of him. In his blog, he describes himself as:

I am a former atheist/agnostic, fifth degree black belt, recovered porn addict, and currently a youth pastor at New Light Church in Tampa, FL. Like every other dude with a laptop, I blog regularly. I can eat five lbs. of steak in one sitting. I have a German shepherd named Rosco. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

We can’t do everything but we have to do something. Why I’m in the Horn of Africa.

Dear Friends, Supporters, Readers, and Encouragers:

I hope you’re doing well.

I’m writing to you from Kenya. Yes, you read that correctly. Kenya as in Kenya, Africa.

I just recently arrived and depending on circumstances, may also visit Somalia and South Sudan. Over the next week or so, I’m privileged to be a guest of World Concern (one of our main partners). We’re also joined by a representative from  ONE. Together, we’ll have the opportunity to personally assess the progress and the arduous work ahead. Just this week, I read reports that the current situation in Somalia – while it improved last year – may be entering into another dire situation.

The Context

In 2011, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in its region in 60 years. This drought in combination with rising food prices, extreme insecurity, and violence led to famine conditions that affected over 13 million people in the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is the “horn” shaped portion of northeastern Africa that includes the countries of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

In fact, the UN declared famine in six regions in Somalia. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in search of food, water, and safety. Many of them walked for weeks, trying to reach refugee camps in Kenya. And sadly, many died along the way, including more than 30,000 children.

When tragedy strikes – whether it be in Aurora, Colorado or through a famine or drought in the Horn of Africa (and another current one in the Sahel region of Africa)…we are reminded of our finitude.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , ,

thanks for believing in us…

These have have been tough but such meaningful years.

Minhee and I have been married nearly 15 years, have three incredible children, recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our church, pursued a dream to start a non-profit cafe and music venue, and recently celebrated Minhee’s graduation from grad school.

Today is also a very special day as we’re marking the 2nd anniversary of One Day’s Wages at our Annual Gala. It took us nearly 3 years to start ODW as that’s how long it took to save up the equivalent of our year’s wages. Numerous times, I kicked myself for going “public” with the vision here on my blog.

But here we are…

Since it’s launch, we’ve built a great following on Twitter and over 640,000 people on our Facebook Page. We’ve established some great partnerships with artists, musicians, small businesses, organizations, and with individuals. More specifically, we’ve had 7438 donors who have partnered with us to raise Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

a birthday request

Hey friends:

This week (October 20), I’ll be turning…41-years-old. As I reflect on the 41 years of my life thus far, I am mindful of how blessed I am. So very blessed.

As I ‘celebrate’ my birthday this week, I know that all of you have been staying up for restless nights wondering what gift to get me. Sleepless nights. ;)

But let me make it easy.

In lieu of any gifts, drinks, cars, flowers, coffee beans, socks, ties, iPhone 4s, or whatever, I’d like to humbly invite you to consider giving to my ODW birthday campaign cause. Your donation – whatever amount – will help ODW continue to grow its movement.

Because one of my life philosophies is to never ask people to do something I’m not willing to do, my wife and I are donating $4,100 towards this campaign. There’s a lot of toys and stuff Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , ,

dear world: please wake up!

Numerous sources have stated that over 12 13 million people are being impacted by the worst drought & famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Most tragically the number of people on the very brink of death has soared to 750,000 (read ODW’s latest update & Nick Kristof’s update in the NY Times).

While it’s clear that the situation is complex (isn’t it always?) with political overtones and the Muslim militia called Shababs unwilling to let aid enter into regions of Somalia where people are dying, we are left with an epic humanitarian crisis impacting 13 million people.

12 13 million people.

How do you wrap your head around such a number?

13,000,000

You begin with one.

The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17…

as in seventeen cents.

These statistics are overwhelming but while we may not be able to remedy, fix, or respond to the entire situation, we must respond. I’m often reminded of Mother Teresa’s wisdom and quote:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Over the years, I’ve grown very uncomfortable (and at times, angry) at what I consider to be borderline exploitation of images (and people) used by non-profit organizations to Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , ,

it’s not just a unicorn. it’s a movement.

Any unicorn lovers amongst my blog readers?

Several weeks ago, we launched our holiday campaign called One Less Gift. It’s a simple invitation – that in lieu of some of the random (or mindful) gifts we give to our friends and family- to instead, make a donation in their name and send them one of our comical e-cards and make a donation in their name.

One of the e-cards pokes fun at the unicorn.

I had no idea how popular the unicorns were in our larger pop culture. Advocates, unicorn lovers, groupies, and believers of the unicorn came out of nowhere to defend the magic of the unicorn.

Want evidence? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

are you coming?

We’ll soon be celebrating the one year anniversary of One Day’s Wages.

If you’re anywhere remotely around Seattle, please join me at the Inaugural One Day’s Wages Gala on Friday, November 5 at the 415Westlake venue (7-10pm).

We have an amazing evening of festitivities: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , ,

new york times: do-it-yourself foreign aid

Got some really cool news to share with you. Literally…cool and inspiring news.

I had the most surreal phone call while I was fishing in Nebraska during my vacation. A guy named Nicholas Kristof called. For those that don’t know, Kristof is one of my favorite writers and he’s also a two time Pulitzer winning columnist for the New York Times. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, are also the authors of a phenomenal book called Half the Sky. Somehow he had heard about our story and of One Day’s Wages and wanted to chat – without any promises – of a possible inclusion in a special feature he was writing for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

That article, The D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution, was published in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Every time someone mentions or writes about our story, I feel the importance of trying to share how ODW was so much of a community thing. We are not an island to ourselves. So many have inspired, encouraged, and prayed for us.

And so, I again want to extend to my blog readers, friends, and larger community – sincere thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Thank you.

Your prayers, belief, and generosity in helping “seed” the vision has allowed ODW to move forward. Amazingly, we were able to raise $71,797 (mostly through this blog) to help launch ODW. And as I’ve shared before, Minhee and I are Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

can you help me celebrate my birthday?

Dear friends and blog readers,

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, I’d like to ask you to consider contributing to my birthday campaign. As I turn 40 years old this Wednesday, I’m trying to raise $40,000 to empower those living in extreme poverty.

Even donating $10 would be very helpful.

One of my philosophies is to never ask people to do something that I’m not willing to do. For that reason, I’ll be donating my one month wages for my birthday ($5,666.67).  There’s a lot of toys and stuff I’d like to have and I can buy all of them with that money but I don’t really need them.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

You can give via my birthday campaign page. Thanks for considering this.

With deep gratitude,

eugene

Filed under: , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Unscientific research says that if you show a picture of a puppy next to your book, 78% more people want the book. :) Thanks to @alisonjmclennan for posting this photo. 
If you've got the book, would love for you to share a photo of it and tag me or use #OverratedBook. Wow. Good morning from Seattle. The view of Mt Rainier from our home. Prayer matters. It's a reminder of God's presence. Prayer sustained Kenneth Bae in a labor camp in North Korea for 765 days. After he came home, we prayed. (photo  credit: @no1camerauser) I love family reunions. Mother and son. Welcome home,  Kenneth Bae. It's all grace. Grateful for the opportunity to share at  #TEDxHanriver in Seoul, Korea and talk about our family, faith, and @OneDaysWages. Praying that many were fascinated by my Master. The epic view from up high at Nakuru National Park,  Kenya. #latergram

my tweets

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,064 other followers

%d bloggers like this: