If I Could Give One Million Dollars

So I’ve had a little down time/alone time while the hubby is at softball practice, and I wanted to blog, but I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to blog about. Never fear! I found a great website that randomly generates some post ideas, and quickly found one I was eager to write about.

“If you had to donate one million dollars to any charity, which one would it be and why?”

At first I wasn’t sure I could find one in particular I would want to donate soon, and started on some research, but was soon reminded of a wonderful charity/cause – Bristol-Myers Squibb Global HIV/AIDs Initiative. I had the opportunity to see part of this program in action while I was in Lesotho, and was very impressed with what they did there. While BMS does provide areas with heath professionals, medicines, ect, it does a lot of training within the community, and often employs locals to conduct the training and oversee new programs.

The orphanage I worked with partnered with BMS and had an employee who worked solely with the programs BMS had established in five more remote areas. N’tate Alex took me with him to three of his visits one day. BMS had established a clinic that worked towards AIDs awareness teaching, for example, that you cannot cure AIDs by rapping your infant daughter. It also worked to distribute medication, provide AIDs testing, and simply deal with any health issues that come up in the community.

“Hospital Room”/Surgery/ Exam Room in the clinic.

Another community received funding to grow crops and trees to help generate both food and income so the community could provide support for the orphans in their community, rather than having to send them in the city or leave them to fend for themselves. Another community was given sewing machines and a few classes, so they could make clothes to feed the orphans in their area.

Some orphans in one of the villages I visited.

Basically, in case you couldn’t tell, the reason I would LOVE to give one millions dollars to Bristol-Myers Squibb is because they use it for education, to teach skills and feed the funds directly into community projects, ones that will be able to self-sustain and even grow. I’m not a fan of simple handouts to governments, though I think at times they can be very helpful and effective. For long-term growth, I firmly believe we need to invest in people, in individual communities, in natives. Foreign aid is great; foreigners who head relief organizations do wonderful work, but people need to believe they have the power to change their lives, their community, and I think Bristol-Myers Squibb is doing just that.

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2 Responses

  1. Is there an email address or a way for me to contact you? I found your article particularly interesting.

  2. I support your ideas, but I would like to encourage people to also consider supporting the AIDS service organization in Guam called the GUAHAN Project (http://www.guahanproject.org/index.php). The GUAHAN Project provides HIV prevention and care services in the U.S. affiliated Pacific region: American Samoa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Resources are extremely limited because the Federal Government under resources the region and the per capita income is staggeringly low: for example, it is only $2,900 in the Marshall Islands, and $2,300 in the Federated States of Micronesia. For comparison, the U.S. per capita income is $46,000. Even a small donation to the GUAHAN Project can make a huge difference in stemming the tide of HIV in these small, culturally rich enclaves that could be destroyed by HIV/AIDS.

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