A Simple Dress that Transformed a Life

A young woman in a crisp white blouse and orange skirt handed me a gift wrapped in butcher paper and tied with string. Attached was this note:

Dear Renee,

We the Child mothers learning Tailoring in the centre

Are pleased to have you in our centre.

We give you an African dress we have made as a gift in

Remembrance.

May God bless you.

Tazreen Factory Fire: A Year Later, Survivors Feel Forgotten

 A year after the deadly factory fire that killed 112 garment workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. in Bangladesh, survivors and the families of those killed and injured say they have been forgotten by the factory owner, international buyers and the government.

A Dollar a Day

Years ago, I made an important choice.

As head of Women Thrive Worldwide, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women and girls in developing countries, I needed a better understanding of the lives of the roughly 829 million women around the world who subsist on little more than one U.S. dollar a day.

That’s why, for about 10 years, I’ve travelled to countries around the world to live with the women and girls on whose behalf we advocate. I work where they work. I sleep where they sleep. And I try to do it all on less than a dollar a day.

How My Family Transformed Our Christmas Giving

Two years ago, my son Jordan—a freshman in high school at the time—launched a chain of events that transformed an entire village half a world away. It also transformed the way our family gives during the holidays.

Turning Nonprofit Beneficiaries into Donors

This holiday giving season, I’d like to encourage you to give your neighbor half the cash in your savings account.

Sounds absurd, right?

Imagine you’re among the world’s poorest: you’ve never had enough for your family, let alone to spare. But today, for the first time, you will become a giver, and you will give your neighbor roughly half your wealth.

Can you even fathom what that might feel like?

I have witnessed this happen, and it’s one of the most powerful things I have ever seen.

A Great Gift: Community Fortitude in the Face of Disaster

When I first sat down to write this piece, Typhoon Haiyan was bearing down on the Philippines, where I live and serve as the director of the disaster response office of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). At the time Haiyan was a category-2 storm, it has since been declared one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded and the UN has issued a level-3 emergency.

In Recognition of World Toilet Day

The global health and development editorial calendar is filled with awareness days. World Water Day, World Malaria Day and World Aids Day usually come to mind immediately. But today’s awareness day is one that often brings a chuckle or a snigger whenever it comes up in conversation.

Extreme Resilience: Finding Hope in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, there are extremists everywhere – but not the kind you think: I mean people living in extreme poverty, extreme pain, extreme despair. At the same time, there is extreme resilience and extreme hopefulness. Resilient is how I describe a country whose people have survived decades of warfare and instability and have always managed to prevail.

Small Acts of Kindness When Everything Was Lost to War

It is olive season here in Lebanon.

In Akkar, the northernmost district in Lebanon, many of the olive orchards have been passed down from generation to generation. Fueled by September and October rains, the window for olive-picking runs from mid-October to December, a time when farmers dot the hillsides, picking and shaking olives from silvery branches.

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