A Promise for Eliya: Protecting Funding for Children and Families Abroad
The circle of protection isn’t just a symbol for retired Pastor Jim Anderson; it is a promise to a friend who is an HIV positive AIDS orphan living a continent away. Now, the circle of protection is my promise too.
Earlier this year, Christians in Portland, OR, braved a rainy day to show support for the circle of protection. Pastor Anderson carried a sign that had a circle around a picture of a young boy from Tanzania named Eliya.
The day before Portland's Offering of Letters workshop, I received an email from Jim. He said he was extremely jet lagged, having just returned from Tanzania, but he would like a minute to address our members.
Jim told us the story of Eliya. Globally funded anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines and nutritious supplements such as plumpy nut have saved Eliya’s life. He told us about the compassionate care-givers in a Catholic-run program helping children like Eliya. From them he learned that his own tax dollars helped provide global funds keeping these children alive and flourishing. He also learned that potential cuts were very worrisome for the care givers who saw the lives that were daily affected. In his blog post, Jim writes,
“I was thrilled to be able to assure Father Vincent that he did not battle alone. In America there are battalions of caring people who write letters to their senators and representatives, urging that they work to maintain a circle of protection around programs that make up the U.S. contribution to poverty-focused development assistance, including the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and other programs aimed at reduction of disease, malnutrition, and poverty.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee considers amendments this week on food aid in the Farm Bill. Now Eliya is in my circle thanks to Pastor Jim, and I will be advocating for a circle of protection around lifesaving food aid. If you have a member of Congress on the Committee, your voice is particularly important, so please take three minutes to call your member for Elyia or another picture and another story in your circle.
Call your member of Congress at 1-800-326-4941, or click here to send them a quick email.
Photo caption: Eliya (left) and Rev. Jim Anderson (right) sit together in Dodoma, Tanzania.
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