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A message from our CEO

Friday, May 04, 2012

Firstly, I want to say thank you.

Because of your support our ministry of compassion has grown around the world. During the last 12 months we’ve started new projects in countries including Myanmar, Somalia and East Timor which alone are helping to change the lives of almost 72,000 of the world’s poorest. And right here in Australia you are helping to shelter and support more than 220 women a year in our refuges and providing free counselling to those on the fringes of our society.

I wish I could say the scourge of poverty and injustice has been wiped off the face of the earth – that is my dream and my prayer just as it is yours. But every day in this ministry I am reminded that poverty continues its deadly reign in many parts of this world.

Drought, conflict, a lack of resources and education cause almost 1,000,000 people to go to bed hungry every night – and with it, hunger takes their dreams and hopes of a secure future.  
A colleague of mine recently returned from a trip to the drought stricken parts of Kenya’s east. Braden spoke with me and shared a story from his travel journal.

“You need to read this,” he told me. “Our supporters, the church, in fact the whole world needs to read this story.”

I encourage you to read Dalila's story.

As Braden recounted her story it struck me - for the 1 billion hungry people around the world it’s not just about the food. It’s never just about food. In fact hunger is the world’s number one health risk, it is a major contributor to illiteracy and adds momentum to the dream-crushing poverty cycle. Curing someone of hunger is more than just easing their pain – it’s securing their future!

21,000 children die from hunger and hunger related causes every day. Around the world nearly one billion people live each day without enough food. But as Dalila’s story demonstrates, the situation is far more serious than simply being hungry – it’s about hopes and dreams.

When Braden shared Dalila’s story with me and I looked at the big picture around the world I couldn’t help but think, “I don’t just want to secure their food. I want to secure their futures!”

That is why we have launched our Food and Futures Appeal. We need your help to raise the $840,000 we need to help an additional 21,000 people suffering from hunger around the world. Your gift by June 30 will help others like Dalila and her family throughout the Pacific, Asia, Africa and people here at home. You can donate online today.

In March I visited a refugee camp in the Sahel region of Niger. Here hundreds of families camp out in a barren land, having fled conflict and poverty in their home of Mali. But amongst the rocks and sand there is little hope of growing food – they even have to dig beneath tree roots and collect the morning dew to drink each day.

These people are caught in a silent and deadly disaster. The world’s media has ignored the issue for months. It’s a difficult, hot and unstable region to work in. But these challenges only inspire us to work harder and I’m proud of ADRA for that.

While I was there a woman, whose name I do not know, passed away. Having not eaten for three days, and living in 50 degree heat her body could no longer sustain life.

Braden shared Dalila’s story before I left for Niger - I thought I understood drought and hunger. But in that moment, with news of a woman’s death mere meters from me, I was left without answers. I simply didn’t know how I, how we, could help.

But I knew we had to. I left Niger with a strong resolve to find a solution and to act. Together, you, me and ADRA have to secure the food and futures of people around the world. Dalila, this refugee woman and everyone they represent need us to.

Will you join with ADRA and help secure the food and futures of people in need around the world?

I need to be honest with you – we can’t help the additional 21,000 hungry people around the world without your help. We simply do not have the $840,000 we need to do it. But when I heard Dalila’s story, and when I witnessed that refugee woman die simply because she didn’t have enough food there was no way I could let our lack of money get in the way of helping. Faith, after all, is a powerful thing, especially in this ministry.

Do you know that one in seven people around the world will go to bed hungry tonight? I don’t say this to elicit any sense of guilt - because like you I will be sitting down to a meal tonight. But if you and I don’t take action today there is no way this situation will improve. Yes the problem is big – sometimes it seems too big – but nothing is ever solved by inaction.

If we don’t raise the $840,000 we need people will continue to go hungry. But as you have read, not only will they be hungry, but vulnerable, desperate and watching secure, hopeful futures fade away.

Your tax deductible gift before June 30 isn’t just about securing food. It’s about securing futures, hopes and dreams. No matter how much you give, every dollar is an investment in hope.

Please consider donating online today. Just $40 can help change a life.

Thank you and God bless,

Jonathan Duffy

CEO, ADRA Australia

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