From a desk in Cincinnati, Uganda seems too far away and the U.S. government appears to be unreachable. The first step to global involvement is awareness and several organizations offer both information and opportunities to help guide individuals to impact people halfway across the world.
The World’s Platform for Change, also known as change.org, is a website devoted to social change through petitions. Change.org covers a variety of topics including economic justice, women’s rights, education, technology, and criminal justice. The organization turns a signature into tangible change all over the world. In India, a survivor of an acid attack convinced her government to regulate the sale of acid to protect women. A meat inspector and over 200,000 supporters won justice for pigs at Tyson Foods and her family. It’s possible to use a signature to make a difference a thousand miles away.
Kiva is an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty through microfinancing. Loans are sent to people in developing countries in increments of $25. These people need loans from Kiva because they don’t have access to traditional banking institutions. The website allows lenders to see the stories of everyone who wishes to receive a loan, which serves as a reminder that everyone is interconnected.
“It’s helping out your neighbor who is halfway across the globe,” Social Studies teacher Michelle Semancik said, who is hopeful that setting up a student lending group may be in McNick’s future. If students are interested, it would be a way of getting involved in the global community while they’re still in high school.
While it’s important to remember the smaller, more local communities, becoming a part of the larger, global community will always be important. Knowing how the decisions one person makes can affect a worker living on a different continent is imperative to establishing social justice across the globe.