A Girl of Wisdom desires to make a difference…

195868_5143069031_3050_n“She’s quick to assist anyone in need and reaches out to help the poor.”

Proverbs 31:20

 I have a friend named Deborah. She is much younger than me (I was born in 1981 and she was born in 1995- you do the maths!). She loves to draw, sing and play soccer. When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, Deborah will declare that she wants to be a doctor. How amazing is that?? In August 2007, I boarded a plane and travelled to where she lives. I got to meet her for the first time.

 As Deborah walked towards me, tears began to roll down my cheeks. When she finally reached me, she knelt down at my feet. The translator explained that this was a cultural gesture meaning, “I owe you my life.” Deborah then stood up again and we simply looked into each other’s eyes for a long moment. I then received the biggest hug of my life!

Deborah has a mum, dad and seven siblings. And they all live in a mud hut no bigger than a little camping tent. And yet, Deborah is just like you and me. She likes music and sport. She argues with her brothers… She wants to be a doctor.

You see, what I didn’t tell you at the beginning was that Deborah lives in Uganda, Africa. Uganda is a country filled with poverty, injustice and suffering that is beyond our comprehension. My family sponsors Deborah through a humanitarian organisation. Each month, my husband and I pay a certain amount of money and this ensures that Deborah gets to go to school, has three meals a day, receives medical attention if she gets sick and provides her family with practical help.

I hope this final pearl of wisdom touches your heart in a powerful way. If it does, your life will never be the same again. A Girl of Wisdom desires to make a difference. Not just within her family, not just amongst her friends, not just within school. She is a beautiful girl, filled with compassion, who wants to help the world.

In our next blog post, we conclude this special blog feature by showing you how possible it is to make a difference in this world! As 2013 draws to an end and we get ready to enter 2014, let’s decide that the new year ahead will be less about ourselves and more about others.

Living a life beyond yourself.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

I have some amazing friends travelling and volunteering in Africa at the moment whilst others are preparing for similar ventures in Asia later in the year. This isn’t the type of tourist holiday where you sit on a beach (although they are good too). Rather, it is a person giving their time and skills to invest in those in poverty.

In Proverbs 31:20 (NCV) a wise woman is described as a person who “welcomes the poor and helps the needy.” I love this verse and it excites me to see it in action in my own life and those around me.

There are many forms of “poor and needy” in this world. There are those who have little in the way of food, shelter and water, while others may be suffering from illness or isolation. It’s not just in Africa and Asia, but in our own communities too. We can all do something to help others, the questions is, what are you doing?

1. Think and pray about what you can do. Think about the skills that you already have- you’ll be amazed at what you are already capable of!

2. What stirs your heart? Homelessness, human trafficking, adult illiteracy…. there are so many!

3. Find volunteering organisations that are known for what they do and have proven that they are trustworthy and effective in helping those in need.

4. Think locally and globally. There are things you can do on a regular basis to help those in need in your community as well as overseas volunteering opportunitiees.

A Girl of Wisdom lives outside of her own needs and desires. She is selfless in her motivation and genuinely wants to see poverty abolished. When she sees the needs that exists in the world, she is moved with compassion to reach out her hand to help.

What can you do to help those in need?

Monday 13 February 2012

I remember the first time I got off a plane in Africa, greeted by the smell of dust, the scorching sun and new surroundings. I was part of a team of Aussie teachers who were there to train teachers. You see, unlike in Australia, in this part of the world to become a teacher usually means failing high school and then, with no training, be given a class of 90 students to teach, all on a salary of $2 a day. There is such a need for upskilling these teachers in the art of how to teach.

Wherever you look, there is someone in need and someone who does not have the basic resources such as food and shelter to lead a healthy life. Proverbs 31:20 (NLT) writes that a woman of wise character “extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”

So what can you do to reach out to the poor and needy using your time and skills? Think locally and globally about areas of need that you see. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Help someone in your neighbourhood.

– volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

– make and bring a meal for a friend who needs it.

– spring clean your wardrobe and donate the good but unwanted clothes to a local charity.

2. Make a difference around the world.

– donate funds to a trusted charity doing great work in the developing world.

– volunteer your time and skills in a worthwhile overseas project.

A Girl of Wisdom has a compassionate heart for those in need around her. She sees where she can give help and is savvy in how to best provide this.

Ideas are free…so what’s yours?

Sunday 23 October 2011

I recently heard someone say that they come up with
a new idea each week, one which will help lives and change situations. It challenged me to do the same. So I began to think.

Through my work as a Child Advocate with Compassion, a not for profit working in nations of extreme poverty, and also my volunteer work for Collective Shout campaigning against the sexualisation of girls, I see the need for people to speak out about the great injustices in our world. I also know that a good idea can make a huge impact and that ideas are free.

I often think about an ideal world, and want to see lives being helped. I simply care and often am alarmed by the issues, depravity and sadness that negatively impacts children.

One idea came to me after I picked up a new mobile phone. I received a booklet giving me instructions on how to use the phone, but what it didn’t give me was any responsibilities I should adhere to as a user. I was thinking along the lines of information regarding sexting, online harassment, tagging inappropriate things on facebook or even the downloading of pornography. My idea was simply to make information available for parents and young people, as a way of protecting against harm, educating families of possible issues and having a mechanism to have an open conversation.

So I contacted a national telecommunication company and put my idea to them. And they agreed to roll out the idea in a couple of phases. I didn’t do this to get kudos for my idea, nor to make money. I did it because it was an extension of my advocacy and care for a healthy society.

What about your idea? Will you think of something that will give an uneducated child an opportunity? Will you do something to fight for those less fortunate? Will there be an idea that will impact widows or an innovative idea that will bring justice for the voiceless? Remember, ideas are free. What’s yours?

Deb Malcolm is a passionate advocate of women’s and children’s rights. For more information, visit www.collectiveshout.org and www.compassion.com.au

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