|United Methodists join global children's campaign|
Oliver Green and Linda Bales of the United
Methodist Board of Church and Society flank actress Angelina Jolie
following an announcement launching a new campaign by Global Action for
Children. A UMNS photo courtesy of Linda Bales.
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
April 27, 2007 | WASHINGTON (UMNS)
Actress Angelina Jolie and other advocates for orphans and vulnerable
children have announced a campaign by Global Action for Children to
increase U.S. government funding by $2.5 billion per year to provide
free primary school education in developing countries.
The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is a founding member of
Global Action for Children. The announcement came during an April 26
news conference held as part of Global Education Awareness Week.
Jolie, an advocate for orphans, backs the campaign during an April 26 news conference in Washington. A UMNS
photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.
"I am no policy expert," Jolie said, "but I know the price of
inaction and indifference. We need people to think about orphans not as a
burden but as a great opportunity."
Heartbreaking stories about children living without parents were
shared by Jennifer Delaney, executive director, Global Action for
Children; the Rev. Mpho A. Tutu, an Episcopal priest and founder and
executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage; Gene
B. Sperling, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; and Kay
Warren, executive director of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
Delaney said about 20 million children will have lost a parent or
parents to HIV/AIDs by 2010, and millions more will be orphaned by
tuberculosis, malaria and war or have parents who are sick and dying.
Warren said she was motivated to get involved by an article about
children who are orphaned by AIDS. "I read a startling statistic that 12
million children are orphans, and I couldn't believe I didn't know any
of them," she said.
Warren asked women affected by AIDS what she could do to help them, what
message she could bring back to the United States. "The one refrain I
kept hearing from the mothers was 'who will care for my children?' I had
to say, 'I will take care of the children.'"
"The one refrain I kept hearing from the
mothers was 'who will care for my children?' I had to say, 'I will take
care of the children, '" says panelist Kay Warren.
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.
Becoming involved in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children has made her "a gloriously ruined woman," she added.
Sperling said eliminating school fees would make "an amazing impact"
because poor parents and children living alone cannot afford school
fees. "Education is the way out for these children," he said.
"Orphans in developing nations are defined as children who have lost
one or two parents," said Linda Bales, a Church and Society executive
and a chairwoman of Global Action for Children. "A child who loses one
parent in a developing nation can be totally devastated."
Bales said the coalition's primary focus was initially a legislative
one. President Bush's AIDS plan set aside 10 percent of funding for AIDS
orphans but did not define how the money could be spent.
"We worked with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Luger,
(R-Ind.) on defining how the 10 percent would be used for such things as
care of orphans, nutrition, education and inheritance rights," Bales
The Rev. Mpho A. Tutu is part of a panel
calling for increased U.S. funding for free primary school education in
developing countries. A UMNS photo by
Kathy L. Gilbert.
In many countries, she said, a child who loses both parents cannot inherit anything and are "are left with nothing."
Oliver Green, a Church and Society director and member of the United
Methodist Global AIDS Fund committee, said "it was heartwarming to hear
Kay Warren and Angelina Jolie speak about the need to care for these
The United Methodist 2004 General Conference created the United
Methodist Global AIDs Fund with the goal of raising $8 million by 2008.
Contributions can be sent to the Advance Special #982345 by writing that
number on the memo line of a check and dropping it in the offering
plate at church. To donate by credit card, call (800) 554-8583.
For more information on the Global Action for Children, visit www.globalactionforchildren.org.
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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