Nothing should be taken for granted

The delicious bread freshly baked for us. I ate a lot of it not only because I was hungry, but also to express my admiration and support to these women.

On a recent work trip to Hanoi, I met four amazing young women – their stories still resonating with me today. All between the ages of 18 and 30, they are students at our local partner’s vocational training program, learning how to bake bread.

With the help of a translator, I learned their stories. One woman attempted to take her own life, but was rescued; one had escaped from her abusive husband; one was deserted by the society because she was HIV positive; and one was sold by her own parent for child labor. All of them had one thing in common – under the conditions of immense pain and suffering, they have worked extremely hard to pull themselves up and are appreciative of what they have.

It suddenly occurred to me – these women could have been me! I realized that I take so many things for granted – a government that functions and cares about its people, a country that is relatively secure and developed, access to clean air, water, and justice.

It is hard to find the right words to describe the atmosphere in that little bakery kitchen; a mixture of warm tears, deep thoughts, depressing silence, and finally – some hope. This is a small reflection of my job at the Foundation. The more I do, the more things there are to be done, so we take small steps, while keeping a grand vision.

I would like to take you to meet these ladies in Asia, but I can’t. Therefore, I am linking you to The Foundation's newly printed 2009 Annual Report instead. If you are too busy to read the whole report, please:

• Read the story on Page 25 and see the miracle a train ticket can make!
• Read about our work in Bangladesh on Page 31 and learn that loan capital is only a start in helping micro-entrepreneurs.
• Go to Page 36 and read about some of the answers to questions that have never been asked before!

Please click on the image below to download the report:


Alice said...

Have you read "Half the Sky"? That book is perfect for you! I think you will enjoy "Three Cups of Tea" as well!

Wonderland Alice said...

Thanks Alice. Just got a copy of "Half the sky" from a co-worker. Looks like my kind of book!