Eugene Cho

89 million more reasons to get involved

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I get the following question all the time:

“Why do we need another organization?”

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s the same folks that ask, “Why do we need another church?”

I’m sure most folks that ask these questions ask with good intentions and while everyone should check their motivations and vision, I am thankful for the folks that went before us [like the orgs that you really really like…] that chose to move forward even when people asked them the very same question.  Had they stopped, they wouldn’t be around and while there are no perfect organizations, they are acting. My only hope is that they’re acting without ever forgetting the same goal of “working ourselves out of a job.”

You understand what I’m saying, right?

But if you need more reasons why we should all get involved and why I feel convicted about One Day’s Wages, I’ll sadly share another 89 million reasons. The numbers are so staggering that sometimes, I just want to pretend that these statistics – reflecting and affecting human beings – do not exist.

But they do. They are real numbers. And they are real people. Human beings created in the image of God.

Depending on who you speak to, approximately 1.4 billion people already live in the conditions of extreme global – defined by the World Bank as those who live on less than US$1.25/day. And in a report published last week by WB, they state that 89 million more people will be living in extreme poverty by the end of THIS YEAR!

While the global economy is showing tentative signs of recovery, 43 low-income developing countries are still suffering the consequences of the global recession, which highlights the need to increase support to the poorest countries dealing with economic volatility and crisis, the World Bank said.

In a paper prepared for the upcoming G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, the World Bank said that as a result of the crisis 89 million more people will be living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day, by the end of 2010. The global recession has also put at risk $11.6 billion of core spending in areas such as education, health, infrastructure and social protection in the most vulnerable countries. [full article here]

This is why my wife, kids, and I have made some  life choices in the past 1.5 years to save, sell stuff, stop buying lots of stuff, sell more stuff, and put aside our savings so that we can donate our 2009 salary on my birthday next month on October 20.  We’re almost there!

I want to invite you [and will keep inviting you] to join us by donating any amount or simply donating your One Day’s Wages – which is approximately only 0.4% of your annual salary.  While we are also taking donations for the Administration Fund, I’d rather you invest in the Giving Fund where 100% of all your gifts [minus bank transactions] will go to causes, projects, and organizations. [Here’s our complete vision letter.]

The cool thing is the Amazon Payments have ZERO surcharges until Sept. 30.  We’re still working on our website but it should be out in early October but check out this cool feature on our site where you can plug in your salary and calculate your day’s wages here. And of course, all donations are tax-deductible.

What is One Day’s Wages? [from the beta website]

In one word: Movement.

In two words: Compassionate Justice.

In a phrase: A Movement of Stories and Actions of Compassionate Justice to Fight Extreme Global Poverty.

In one paragraph: One Day’s Wages (ODW) is an international grassroots movement dedicated to ending extreme global poverty. ODW promotes awareness, invites simple giving, and supports sustainable relief through partnerships, especially with smaller organizations in developing regions.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

ODW was founded by Eugene and Minhee Cho and their three children because they were convicted to do something: they donated a year’s salary to the fight against poverty, and now they invite you to give one day’s wages.

If your wages for a single day cannot save the world, they can dramatically impact another person’s life; consider, then, what millions of you giving your daily wages and renewing the gift annually on your birthdays will accomplish!

One Day’s Wages is you, me, us, them: giving, dreaming, and working together to end extreme global poverty. Join the movement.

photo above: a picture from my vision trip to South Africa earlier this year. Two young teenagers lived alone in the home.

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11 Responses

  1. rv says:

    I always find it interesting that you get so many commenters for most of your posts but when it comes to justice or poverty issues, you get nothing.

  2. Janice says:

    Your first sentence got me lost..

    I get this organization all the time: “Why do we need another organization?”

    Did you mean you get this QUESTION all the time?

  3. kate says:

    @rv: I’ve noticed that, too.

    Not only here, but in most areas of poverty relief orgs….especially when finances are involved. It’s fairly easy to gather ‘awareness’ of an issue, but to act on that issue (in this sense, being willing to part with a portion of our incomes)…..is much more difficult.

    I’d say that it’s indicative of a larger issue that is – in my opinion – many Christians (perhaps in this context, Americans in particular)struggling to reconcile our relative wealth, with our faith, with the knowledge of what Scripture says regarding wealth, and the command to care for the widow, orphan, and stranger. Just my two cents……

  4. Janice says:

    One more question, if we donate what exactly will our money go towards? Food, fresh water, gospel, school, medical needs?

  5. […] 89 million more reasons to get involved « eugene cho eugenecho.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/89-million-more-people – view page – cached Sometimes, I wonder if it’s the same folks that asked, “Why do we need another church?” — From the page […]

  6. This is one of the most hopeful thing I’ve read in a while. This calls us back to who we really are as “Church”. We’re in. I’m sharing!

  7. Eugene Cho says:

    @janice:

    thanks for the question.

    couple answers: in the beginning, we’ll be selecting a handful of medium sized orgs that fall in alignment with the millennium development goals: water, aids, medicine, education, etc.

    in the long run, our vision is to collaborate with small organizations in developing regions [most of them are probably ones that most folks haven’t even heard of]. we’ll look to our members to help discover some of these organizations but all orgs will have to apply for grants and meet our guidelines.

  8. lukedaniel says:

    I’m so excited! I keep thinking of things to write, but I can’t. Traveling in Guatemala and working in the D.R. is really helping me realize how much need there is. Good work and God bless.

  9. theeconomomist says:

    Here’s something you may wish to consider: “You could say that globalisation, driven not by human goodness but by the profit motive, has done far more good for far more people than all the foreign aid and soft loans provided by well-intentioned governments and aid agencies.” – Paul Krugman.
    I understand your want to do something – but aid like this is not enough, what you need to do, is create jobs for these people; and then you can invest in education, and so on so forth; the industrial revolution – that sees us where we are today, didn’t happen overnight – and it wasn’t driven by aid agencies.

  10. randplaty says:

    We need more churches because church planting is one of the most effective evangelistic strategies today. New churches are strategic. They contribute something new, i.e. new believers that would otherwise go unreached.

    An argument could be made that new organizations contribute new donors that would not otherwise donate. If that’s the case then that’s a perfectly legit argument for a new organization. Still, both questions must be asked.

  11. theeconomomist says:

    They only create new believers if the demand for the churches is there – simple economic supply vs demand. Also, you have to consider whether opening churches to people who are not necessarily interested in a religious point of view is democratic – you love, i’m sure, the “democratic” society that you reside in. If I was to suddenly force upon you a change to another religion, islam, judaism, hinduism – I wonder what your response would be; I’m assuming your going to reply with ‘they don’t have to follow the religion’, well no they don’t – and they obviously don’t want to.
    When the portugese first landed in China and tried to force the word of christian god upon the Chinese it wasn’t taken well – many of them simply slaughtered. Unless you represent the total abolishen of democracy and believe that the church should take over the running of a country – and only one church – then your point really doesn’t make sense.

    Again, creating new organisations doesn’t solve the problem either – there is a limit to how much people will donate, and there is a point at which it becomes too much, this organisation, that organisation. Too many organisations will actually do more harm than good as the funds they generate will be to spread out to have any effect over the areas they may be trying to help.

    We need to create a limit of supply of aid. Supply of aid creates a disinsentive for people to go to work and earn a living. Free Trade, opening up of borders will better these people. Give them work, and they will be able in the long run to afford for education for their children. The opposing view I’m sure will be that “working conditions are horrible”. For thousands of years working conditions were horrible – now that we have the sense of being better, we should not be so ignorant as to give our excess money to the people, instead you should support the companies that employ these people, so that they keep their jobs, maybe their children won’t be better off – but their children, and their children’s children will start to see benefits. To end world poverty we need the industrial revolution to occur globally – until that happens, we will be giving aid for millions of years to come.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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