What are your plans for this 4th of July, America’s Independence Day? Perhaps you will travel and visit loved ones, or host a barbeque, or simply go outside in the evening to watch the fireworks. As you celebrate this important holiday, take time to thank God for this nation and the blessing of being independent. Having freedom is a prerequisite to the well-being of people.
I also encourage you to think about how your blessing of freedom compares to the world’s most vulnerable people, the people with whom Food for the Hungry (FH) works. Consider how those people also pursue of freedom and happiness.
How Poverty Robs People of Freedom
Amartya Sen, winner of the Novel Prize in Economics in 1998, mentioned that a state of poverty of a person is normally associated to a lack of a certain types of freedom. The most obvious is the lack of the means to access opportunities to improve a person’s life. This can trap people in poverty for generations. These are the kind of people FH reaches.
How Vulnerable People Can Be Set Free
FH partners help vulnerable children like this to secure freedom by ending poverty in their lives.
FH helps people access opportunities through exposure to Christian principles, training, facilitation of processes and basic services. We help people access new opportunities through new ways of thinking and actions that can increase their well-being. We do this so that people are less bound to the limitations of spiritual and physical poverty and can experience greater levels of freedom and happiness.
I saw this in a girl in Bolivia whose name I will keep confidential. She was a sponsored child in a peri-urban center (an area between the suburbs and the countryside). FH staff visited this teenager at home and encouraged her to continue school. The staff introduced her to Jesus Christ, and she committed her life to Him. I met her for the first time when when I visited her community. In my brief conversation with her, I asked what she would like to do in her life. She said she wanted to finish school and then study at the university level so she could help other children like herself. I was impressed by her answer.
Last time I visited Bolivia, I saw her again. She had graduated from school and—to my glad surprise—even finished university through a scholarship from FH. Now she works for FH as a community level staff, helping many families and children through her work. In other words, she achieved her goal. She has not only been set free from severe poverty, but she uses this freedom to helps others break free from it too.
Happy Independence Day! Right now, before you forget, there are some things you can do to help others achieve similar freedom.
Pray for the freedom of all people around the world—political freedom as well as freedom from all forms of human poverty.
Give to programs of organizations like Food for the Hungry that touch the world’s most vulnerable people with the gift of freedom.
Sponsor a child, similar to the one I described in this post, which is one of the most effective ways to end poverty in a child’s life.