Posted by: sforshner | October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty

I am interrupting my regularly scheduled travel link roundup because it is a very important day in the blogosphere – today is Blog Action Day. It is a day where thousands of bloggers around the world focus upon and highlight issues around one topic – poverty.

I have been thinking about this post for a while now. My Faith-Justice minor at Saint Joseph’s University allowed me to not only learn about the importance of social justice, it offered me the opportunity to experience how to make change – through education coupled with service in inner city Philadelphia and trips to Kentucky and West Virginia, where I helped build houses via Project Appalachia. I even spent time interning at‘s Action Without Borders, an organization that brings together college students and staff, serving as a virtual meeting place for students, campus staff and administrators, alumni, and community members who are making the world a better place through service, activism, advocacy, political engagement, and socially responsible work. Despite all that, I had a difficult time honing in on a topic that would resonate and be relevant to my blog.

So, I started my brainstorming, which nowadays equals google searching. I looked up various versions of “travel poverty” and a Blog Action Day Post on La Comunidad rose to the top almost every time – 88 Ways to Take Action Against Poverty Right Now

67. Travel to a poor country or area. Look for ways to make a difference on the ground there.

I don’t think you can ever really understand a situation unless you have seen it. I have blogged about my travels the rural areas of Kentucky and West Virginia before, so I thought I would start this post with some astonishing statistics that I gathered from UNICEF, another organization that had a big presence at my Jesuit University, and then highlight opportunities around the Globe that help make a difference…

Children and Poverty: Key Facts

  • In a $30 trillion global economy, 1.2 billion people- a quarter of the human race-are living in conditions of almost unimaginable suffering and want.
  • Between 600 million and 700 million children; representing about 40 per cent of all those in the developing world- are currently struggling to survive on less than $1 a day.
  • Easily preventable diseases (such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and measles) account for the deaths of nearly eleven million children under the age of 5 each year.  
  • Nearly one billion people in the world are illiterate.
  • Over 110 million children of school age are not in school.
  • Approximately 1.3 billion people lack safe water. 
  • Over half of the developing world’s population (2.6 billion people) are without access to adequate sanitation.
  • If the world were to invest an extra 30 cents out of every $100, all children would be healthy, well nourished and in primary school.
  • Studies in more than 30 countries indicate basic social services receive, on average, between 12 per cent and 14 per cent of total public spending. Two thirds of these countries spend more on debt servicing than on basic social services; several spend three to five times more on debt.

[Stats courtesy of World Summit For Social Development and Beyond: Copenhagen]

So now what? If you read my blog you are undoubtedly interested in travel, whether it is unique adventures outside your door or getting on a plane to a destination where you have never been. So here is something for everyone… 

Close to Home

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. To find projects near you, you can fill out your information here, and it will find them for you.

Volunteer Abroad

The Global Volunteer Network(GVN) offers volunteer service opportunities in community projects throughout the world. They currently provide volunteer programs through their partner organizations in 21 countries. The network continues to expand with new programs currently being researched and assessed. Their most recently added programs include Peru and Heal The Earth.  

Live Change Home & Abroad

Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.

What else is out there?



  1. for my part, i turn to sites like freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. 🙂

  2. Habitat for Humanity is great. A guy that works with me is getting a house through them and he is working his butt off for it!

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