I am an orphan. I don’t think I will become anything.– a 10-year-old from Afghanistan, responding to ChildFund’s Small Voices, Big Dreams survey
More the Same Than Different
After working for almost 20 years in developing countries and visiting dozens more over the past 30 years, I’ve met people from many different cultures and backgrounds and discussed all sorts of things. (I remember one conversation sitting barefooted and cross-legged on a floor of a mud house in Bangladesh explaining to a group of women about the U.S. Social Security system. They thought it was a...
The hardest question for someone to answer who has grown up overseas, away from...– High school counselors in international schools around the globe.
Water, Walking and School
It was very hot and very dry – probably in the mid to upper 90s as usual. We had been walking for several hours without anything to drink. The local “taxi” in this remote part of northeastern Kenya where I was a Peace Corps volunteer had run out of gas. There were two options: wait by the side of the desert road and hope that another car would come by before nightfall, or start walking. I chose to...
Egypt on My Mind
When you live someplace for six years, it becomes part of you. Thus, Egypt has been on my mind a lot this past year ever since its “awakening” a year ago. My first office there was right off Tahrir Square, where the demonstrators stood their ground for a change in government last spring. In the height of the demonstrations I was in touch with two Egyptian friends — one taking refuge with...
A Good Story to Tell
When people are polled about their worst fears, public speaking makes the top 10. For many, this is even scarier than getting sick. As a CEO, public speaking is a part of my job that I honestly enjoy. I think ChildFund has a good story to tell, and I guess that’s why I like being a storyteller. But I do worry about how to tell that story. If I grab people’s attention with a compelling real-life...
The Other 1%
When you survey Americans and ask them to estimate how much of the federal budget is spent on “foreign aid,” they guess 25%. When you ask them, how much should we spend, they respond, 10%. What is the actual percent? It’s 1% − that’s right, 1% of the annual budget is dedicated to the 150 account, also known as the International Affairs Budget. This account funds our embassies, the humanitarian...
Sixteen years ago, I was walking in a lonely path, full of uncertainties, unable...
Saying 'I Do' to a Hat
When most people think of weddings, they picture the bride and groom looking with love into each other eyes as they state their vows. But that’s not how all marriages begin. When I was living in Somalia some years back, one very young bride was married off by her family — but the groom (a stranger to her) was not able to return to Somalia for the wedding. The ceremony was held nonetheless...
Babies in Bangladesh
When I lived in Bangladesh a few years back, I don’t recall ever having met a mother in the village who had not lost at least one child. When I would ask how their child had died, the mothers would usually reply: vomiting and diarrhea. They would describe how the child had been sick for less than a week and then passed away. Although we were living in what was then commonly known the...
Voices of Children
From time to time, I’ll be sharing a story or a quote from the children and youth who are in ChildFund’s programs in 31 countries around the world. Today, I’d like you to meet Brando, who’s enrolled in our ChildFund Mexico programs and attending junior high school. “My passion is music. From an early age I thought I would like to learn to play the trombone. Now...