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Justin Stone

Why I Care about Ending Poverty

A while ago in 2007, I went to Vietnam with my family. It was a great trip with many highlights. However, one event of many stands out now, something that seemed so insignificant at the time. My family and I were helping look after some orphaned children in a water theme park one day. It was so much fun, with giant slides (not actually built for western body proportions - I hit my head and arms a few times), water park style paddling pools and small fountains everywhere. The children loved it, for them, it was amazing and something they don't get to experience much. One child got along really well with me. He was only about age 7 but we had a great time together going down the slides and causing a ruckus in the park. By the end of the day, we had to say goodbye, and I said "I'll see you tomorrow" to him. As we parted, the boy had a big smile on his innocent face and he said "see you again?" where I nodded in response, thinking this would be the case.

This is where the kicker came in, I was thinking we would be helping look after them again the next day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity again. I felt like I had let the boy down, someone who had already experienced abandonment in his life from such an early age. I felt as if I should go and adopt him! The fact was that, I experienced a real connection with this boy... we were great friends! I felt horrible for letting him down and possibly betraying his friendship and trust, (later I was informed that he was told why we didn’t get to see all the kids again, but I didn’t know that at the time).

I started feeling so privileged to come from a country where education, food, housing, and welfare are provided. A place where I had the opportunity to develop myself and allow myself opportunities that should not simply be given to those born into the right place only, but to everyone. So I thought, what do I do now? Should I just sit and watch while human beings like this child are growing up in poverty and are less advantaged than those born into privilege? I decided to try and see all humans as equals. To treat the de-humanised people that are stuck in ‘groups’ or ‘socioeconomic statuses’ as human beings, who should have the same rights as I do.

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  • commented on What should I say to Julie Bishop?
    "Samantha Royce, great post and way to handle a call. I will try it next time I call them! I agree that being genuine and not having a scripted facts and figures speech would be helpful, (maybe they would demonstrate that you know what you are talking about) rather than persuade someone in govt to adopt your view. I think it would need to be a human connection to do that, as you said! :)"
  • commented on Promoting LBL
    "You can do whatever you want to. We found the best way was to have a personal story about why you are doing something, to link it to the amount of people participating and to call to action the person you are pitching to. You should be able to find a module on pitching online if you haven’t already.

    One thing we did was ring all the family / friends / contacts we had in our phone and tell them what we were doing and then ask if they would be willing to donate anything at all or participate :)

    I hope that helps you a bit!"
  • commented on What do I say when I meet with my MP?
    "I would say don’t worry about looking like a fool. Be brave and unafraid! Talk about what i on your mind, question logic and why politicians think the way they do… Just remember, he is a person too and to keep it professional, rational and realistic. Just research beforehand and be sure you know what you want to find out from him.

    I hope that is relevant and helpful Scott. You’ll be fine!"
  • commented on Building the window
    "Good message. I hope we can all create enough movement through contacting MP’s and government departments in order to have our voices heard. It’s great to hear your passion for change and equality and to know young people care and can unite."
  • Justin Stone
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