The Philanthropic Mud-Pie-Makers


How could making mud pies be related to philanthropy? It’s a bit circuitous, but trust me, it will all make sense in the end.

First, I want to share a statistic that grabbed the interest of my own inner-philanthropist.

“The global child mortality average is now 57 deaths per 1000, a remarkable improvement from the 1990 figure of 88 per 1000.”

A remarkable improvement? Not if your child is one of the children who die this year. Particularly if your child dies from a disease that could have been easily prevented, for about twenty dollars. From a disease that parents in “first world” countries usually don’t fear, such as measles, polio, pneumonia, or rotavirus.

And in the twenty seconds it took you to read that statistic, another child has died from a vaccine-preventable disease.

Globally, one in five children don’t have access to life-saving vaccines.

Take twenty more seconds to imagine five kids that you know. Then imagine that one will be denied those basic vaccines (possibly in conjunction with a lack of clean water, nutritious food, sanitation systems, shelter and education).  Could you make the decision that this child from Tanzania shouldn’t receive vaccines, while four others should?

She has a smile a lot like Bella’s. But due to circumstances beyond her control, she might not make it to her second birthday, as Bella did.

These are sobering thoughts, certainly not celebration-worthy. So why include this post in our family’s month of celebrations? Because there’s an amazing network of ordinary people, just like you, who are working to change these statistics. I hope this organization will inspire and empower you to create change in the lives of children you’ve never met.

The organization I want to celebrate is ShotatLife (Shot@Life). In conjuction with the United Nations Foundation (and many other supporting partners) this grassroots group has been spreading the message about how each of us can make a huge difference in the lives of children around the world. The Shot@Life rallying cry is simple and memorable:

Every child deserves a shot at life.

We’re usually so wrapped up in the day to day busyness of life that we take many of the simple moments of childhood for granted. Our family has celebrated and shared many of those simple moments here.

Losing your first tooth.

Climbing a tree.

And making mud pies, of course.

These aren’t extravagant moments, but each one is special and memorable. Sam and Bella have each had thousands of moments like these, partly because they were born into a time and place replete with blessings and opportunity.

At the evo conference we learned about creative ways that families in the United States have come together to raise money and awareness for the Shot@Life campaign. Just twenty dollars can pay for life-saving vaccines for one child in a developing country. Families have hosted bake sales, car washes and Valentine parties. You can find supporter stories on the Shot@Life web-page, that will get your own creative ideas flowing. If you decide to raise money for Shot@Life, please share your ideas here. Remember that no idea or donation is too small (or too big)!

In addition to personal or family fundraisers, I hope you’ll check out Blogust ’12. Beginning on August 1, a talented group of writers will be addressing the Shot@Life campaign, for thirty-one days. Here’s the amazing part. For every unique comment left on a writer’s post, $20 will be donated to Shot@Life, through the generous support of private donors. So you could potentially save the lives of 31 kids during the month of August, just by reading and commenting on blogs.

We’re also brainstorming about what our family will do to raise money, so that more kids around the world can have the opportunity to make mud pies.

Oooh, how about a chocolate mud pie bake sale? Now we’re getting back to celebrations…

3 thoughts on “The Philanthropic Mud-Pie-Makers

  1. Pingback: What do people do all year? 13 for ’12 | The Family Lab for Inquiry and Play

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