March 1, 2017

"If all students in low-income countries gained basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty."

One of the biggest contributors to global poverty is lack of access to education. Education is one of the most powerful ways to reduce poverty and improve health, gender equality, peace and stability.

When people have basic life and literacy skills, economies grow more quickly and poverty rates decline. Children who have the opportunity to learn are able to eventually earn more money and support their own families.

There are still, however, far too many barriers to education for children in impoverished nations, especially for girls.  And, even when children do attend school, they often struggle to learn in large class sizes, from untrained and poorly or unpaid teachers and using outdated learning materials.

Poor quality education leads to low motivation to stay in school and many children drop out. In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three children who start school does not complete even basic primary school, let alone progress to secondary school.

Nearly 113 million children are not able to attend primary school. Another 264 million children who might be attending secondary schools do not, according to United Nations figures.

For $54 billion, every child in poverty could receive a basic education.  $54 billion sounds like a lot of money, but it’s less than what Americans spend on soda each year!

Educating Girls is Key to Ending Poverty - 

Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come.

Poverty is cyclical. The best indicator of if a child will end up in poverty is if her parents live in poverty.  

And why is this?   Economic classes tend to segregate, meaning that poor people generally live clustered together. Their collective political clout degrades and rarely leads to improved access to resources and opportunities.

But there is one secret weapon underused, or deliberately neglected, in most communities around the world that can break this cycle: the education of girls and women. If girls around the world were given a full education then poverty would not be so persistent.

Consider these facts:

Adrian and Kimberly
Adrian and Kimberly

On today's show, Adrian and Ethan talk with our friend Kimberly Moore about all of the work she is doing through her charity, theThe Kimberly Moore Foundation.  

Baroness Kimberly Moore is an active philanthropist, entrepreneur from New York City and Goodwill Ambassador to the United States. She founded The Kimberly Moore Foundation and created a great number of programs and campaigns well recognized in the media, benefiting children and families in her own communities.

Kimberly's experiences vary from building educational programs for children, coordinating concerts for young musicians to organizing a great number of events for some of the world’s most influential leaders. She has raised awareness and proceeds for a variety of causes. In her spare time, she also does some volunteer work for “Pediatric AIDS Foundation”, a mentorship program with “Children Uniting Nation” and she has worked 3 years with wild animals rescued from the space programs.

The Peace Fund first teamed up with Kimberly's Adopt a Letter program a couple years ago. Kimberly has been running the Adopt a Letter program since 2007. She personally answer letters to Santa Claus addressed to the North Pole written by thousands of needy children and families located in some of the most impoverished areas of Los Angeles and fulfill their Christmas wishes! Today Adopt A Letter has become a year round program providing underprivileged kids with backpacks, school supplies, groceries, clothes, shoes, help covering ACT test, caps, gowns, computers and more.

Last year, The Kimberly Moore Foundation Adopt A Light program partnered with Luci to help light up the lives of thousands of people in need living in developing countries that do not have access to electricity. An estimated 79 percent of the people in the Third World -- the 50 poorest nations -- have no access to electricity, despite decades of international development work. The total number of individuals without electric power is put at about 1.5 billion, or a quarter of the world's population.  The first stop: El Salvador


The Peace Fund partnered with Kimberly's Adopt a Light program.  A donation to the Peace Fund by Katie, Sophia, Maddy, Grace, and Olivia from Garnet Valley Middle School was used to benefit Adopt A Light, providing funds to light 80 homes.

Heroes Maggie and Harper Cunningham from Books and a Blanket sent Kimberly and the kids more than 300 Kindergarten and Spanish books and 150 Disney toys, and Hero Christopher Cao and his Reboot for Youth crew connected with Kimberly to deliver 13 refurbished laptop computers!

In addition to the many books donated by The Peace Fund, these generous gifts have resulted in an educational center brimming with books and computers for children who previously had no access to education.

Another program, Better Minds Through Reading is dedicated to teaching children to build better minds through reading!  During Kimberly’s many years of delivering hope and wishes to children through her Adopt A Letter program she learned that one of the most common Christmas wishes from children living in highly impoverished areas was either food, clothing, school supplies and books.  Many of the underprivileged children in the community had very little access to books at home and in their communities along with less access to good public libraries and bookstores.

Kimberly understands the importance of reading and believes that every child should have access to books and the opportunity to build their own home library. Knowledge is power and books are full of it. Reading has the ability to boost our children's learning potential simply by making books an integral part of their lives.

The Peace Fund was thrilled to support Kimberly’s program with a donation of over 5,000 books to the Kimberly Moore Foundation for their Adopt A Country program for children who do not have access to education.

Other programs of The Kimberly Moore Foundation include Keeping Harmony Alive, Career Exploration, Mentoring and Leadership, Sponsor a Child, When Opportunity Knocks, and other educational programs.  Listen in to hear Kimberly talk about some of her programs and the difference they are making in the lives of many of the less fortunate children.

Lorelei and Her "Heart Hugs"
Lorelei and Her "Heart Hugs"

This week John will be talking with one of our heroes from 2014, 11- year old Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer.  How many kids under 18 can say they're a CEO of a charity that brings both hope and healing to child heart surgery patients as far away as South Africa, China, Ireland and Vietnam?

Lorelei can. She was born without half of her heart, has undergone 24 surgeries, needs another one, and has a heart rate roughly half of what a healthy kid her age should have.

When Lorelei was recovering after a surgery in 2011, she was given a heart pillow to hug. The pillows serve two purposes -- psychological security for pediatric heart patients, and squeezing the pillow helps drain fluid that builds in their lungs. The action also has the effect of pain management by distracting the mind, kind of like when you burn yourself and grab your arm really tight.

However, the pillow was just too big for Lorelei. So she decided to make pillows her size and give them to the other heart patients, like her friend Cora, who is still undergoing surgeries for HLHS.  And this was the beginning of her nonprofit Heart Hugs.

The first year, Lorelei made a couple hundred pillows. Last year, she sent out 2,000, and she's delivered 8,000 total since 2011.