Effective altruismHow can we do the most good in the world? This is the guiding question of a new philosophical and moral movement called “effective altruism” (EA). Effective altruism, a concept coined by philosopher Peter Singer, is an attempt to use common sense and research to determine how each person can maximize his or her positive impact.

What is Effective Altruism?

The basic idea is simple. There are many things a person can do to improve the world. An individual can donate to charities, volunteer or support positive government action. Effective altruists, however, believe that it is not just a matter of doing good wherever it is most convenient. Take charities, for example. Some causes achieve their goals more efficiently than others. Donating $10,000 to an emergency surgery fund might save one life. But, donating that same money to a group that, for instance, teaches impoverished children how to read, could have a vastly greater effect. One of the issues effective altruists care the most about is global poverty.

Global Poverty: A High-Priority Cause

Addressing poverty is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to reduce suffering. Unlike some other issues, global poverty is a problem with proven solutions. Over the past 40 years, extreme poverty rates have dropped from 42% to less than 10%. With such a successful track record, it is easy to imagine that future efforts to reduce poverty will continue to pay off.

Looking at the measures taken on the ground, it is not difficult to see how a little money can have a big impact in solving global poverty. Parasitic diseases, for instance, are a huge drain on wealth and stability in large parts of the developing world, but they can be cured with a pill that costs less than a dollar. Mosquito nets are just as affordable, with the ability to protect more than half a million potential malaria victims a year.

Prioritizing Maximum Impact

According to effective altruism, it is not enough to devote time or money to a cause that generally has a good track record. An individual must look at exactly where their money is going. Even poverty-reducing measures have significant differences in efficiency and results. For example, a recent study compared the cost-benefit ratios of sustainable livelihoods graduation programs, livelihood development programs and cash transfers. Although graduation programs tend to cost more, they have far greater long-term success in lifting people out of poverty.

People are becoming far more conscientious of the causes and charities to which they choose to devote their time and money. Effective altruism is emerging in this environment. GiveWell, an effective altruism organization, analyzes the progress reports of well-known charities and conducts independent investigations into their effectiveness.

GiveWell is not afraid of courting controversy either. GiveWell recommends that individuals stop giving to some of the most well-known poverty reduction charities. According to GiveWell, these organizations lack transparency, show unimpressive results or already have more funds than they can effectively use. In the spirit of effective altruism, GiveWell instead recommends a list of alternate organizations that can fulfill similar goals far more efficiently.

Considering Effective Altruism

Effective altruism, as well as philosophically-related organizations like GiveWell, are not without critics. Some, particularly those involved with more traditional models of charity and activism, argue that effective altruism puts too many limits on an individual’s ability to donate however they choose. But, such criticisms notwithstanding, effective altruism offers a fresh perspective on how to approach pressing issues like global poverty.

– Thomas Brodey
Photo: Wikimedia

Esports Are Making an Impact on Global Poverty
For years, video games have had a bad reputation in the media, with critics citing problems such as increased laziness and aggressiveness in youth as a byproduct. However, video games have proven to be a useful resource and are beneficial to many across the globe. Here are some ways in which esports (electronic sports) impacts global poverty.

Tournaments for Charity

In response to the effects of COVID-19, several streamers and gaming tournaments have directed their profits toward charities. The recent Gamers Without Borders tournament was the largest esports charity event in history. The proceeds went toward various global organizations such as UNICEF and the International Medical Corps. Operating in more than 190 countries, UNICEF is an organization that has worked to minimize global poverty among youth for more than 75 years. Meanwhile, since 1984, the International Medical Corps has been providing medical aid to countries experiencing crises, including several impoverished nations. His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan has even recognized Gamers Without Borders. He is also the chairman of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS).

Games for Good

Popular games in the esports scene are also contributing to good causes. More than 50 million daily active users in China play the popular mobile game “Game For Peace.” The game helps raise awareness of underrepresented communities. Recently, the game introduced the Miao ethnic minority culture in Chongqing to the game. The annual per capita income of the village is just half of the national average. The game included the Miao people as a way of raising awareness about their livelihoods, such as their embroidery and farms. This could help alleviate poverty among the Miao people by creating a demand for their goods. Tourism has also contributed to the village’s economy, which more than tripled between 2012 and 2019.

Hope for Low-income Players

Another way in which esports impacts global poverty is by raising awareness of low-income groups. As the esports and video game industries grow, there is a demand for new jobs within these industries. In Brazil, the team Zero Gravity emerged, only hiring low-income players. Tournaments like the Favelas Cup and the Favelas Bowl occurred, providing those in need chances to win large money prizes. As the esports industry continues to grow in Brazil, many have the chance to escape poverty through careers, as displayed in this emerging industry. With millions of dollars of prize money on the line and average salaries of six figures, people have many financial incentives to join in.

Creating New Job Industries

In addition to Brazil, Cambodia, a nation still suffering from the effects of a civil war, is also tapping into this now billion-dollar esports industry. Cambodia had a poverty rate of 13.5% in 2014, with many of its citizens living in rural areas. However, the introduction of new technology has helped lessen the prevalence of poverty. Innovations such as smartphones and the internet have helped the country grow and improve its education system. As the country seeks to become more digitized, new sponsorship and career opportunities arise for video game players. These investments aim to help Cambodian gamers get more exposure at international tournaments, allowing this developing nation to break into the industry.

As the esports industry continues to grow, so do opportunities to aid the globally impoverished. Esports impacts global poverty by supporting gamers from around the world.

– Carly Johnson
Photo: Pixabay

Children InternationalThe poverty disparity between adults and children is ever-growing. Children are twice as likely to live in poverty in comparison to adults, according to UNICEF. Globally, one billion children live in multidimensional poverty and approximately 365 million live in extreme poverty. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has pulled 150 million more children, including some from the wealthiest countries, into poverty. For this reason, the work of nonprofits addressing child poverty, such as Children International, is especially urgent.

Children International

Children International, a nonprofit that has worked to end poverty for nearly 80 years, is renowned for its transparency. Its website displays the many tangible positive changes the organization has brought about for children living in poverty. Children International believes addressing the needs of children is the way to end global poverty. Through its unique child sponsorship program, a person from anywhere in the world can fund the health, educational, security and nutritional needs of a child.

Through its Employment Program, Empowerment Program and various health and education programs, Children International works to end global child poverty through sustainable short-term and long-term approaches. These include providing basic health and dental services, boosting children’s confidence and creating post-graduation employment opportunities.

Safe Community Centers

Children International has also created more than 67 community centers to ensure that children can grow in secure and safe environments. Holistic child care in these safe spaces addresses the nutritional, educational and physical needs of children up to age 20. Children International believes that safe spaces and programs tailored to the unique needs of each child will ultimately end global poverty.

Nuanced Attention to Every Child

Children International’s customized programs focus on the individual needs of each child. The child sponsorship program enables donors to choose a child to sponsor, then give directly to that child’s specific needs. This “contextualization” ensures that both “a 6-year-old in Zambia” and “a 14-year-old in Honduras” have their particular needs met. The child sponsorship program focuses on the nuanced needs of every child by truly listening to the children themselves and allocating the necessary resources to lift them out of poverty.

Children International’s customized programs ensure that children are educated, healthy, employed and empowered as they transition into adulthood. The education program also provides children with shoes, books, uniforms, tutoring and scholarships and builds community centers with computers and other useful resources. Nearly 88% of children engaged in tutoring programs from Children International have improved profoundly in reading, writing and math and 71% of those involved in the Employment Program have found employment.

Ending Global Child Poverty

Success stories from four continents illuminate the astounding work of Children International, which has helped more than one million children. Children International is working to end global child poverty and has already taken off immensely in its success.

Nora Zaim-Sassi
Photo: Flickr

Charities in GreeceMore than a decade after the 2008 economic crisis, Greece retains high unemployment and poverty rates, especially compared to its EU neighbors. Of the 10 million people living in Greece, more than one-third of the population lives in poverty. Furthermore, Greece must manage an aging, ailing population that increases annually as refugees arrive. As a result, dismantling systemic poverty in Greece is a multi-front battle requiring a multifaceted response. Several charities in Greece aim to reduce poverty among Greece’s most vulnerable populations.

5 Charities in Greece

  1. Echo100Plus. In 2012, a group of mostly Austrian friends “with strong ties to Greece” founded Echo100Plus. Echo100Plus works to secure international aid to support Greece through a worsening social and economic crisis. The organization identifies and partners with local NGOs, then bolsters them with necessary resources, staff and funding. Currently, Echo100Plus is focusing on Greece’s growing refugee population, a group primarily made up of those fleeing civil war in Syria and other countries. Many refugees migrating to Europe make their way across the Aegean Sea, often traveling through Turkey to Greece. Refugees arrive on Greece’s islands in need of basic goods and services like food, shelter and clothes. Echo100Plus supports refugees on Greece’s islands by providing them with basic essentials.
  2. The Smile of the Child. This organization was “founded in 1995 by 10-year-old Andreas Giannopoulos,” with the mission to see every child smile by addressing many threats to the welfare of children, such as violence, health problems and poverty. The organization runs Day Care Homes where families living in poverty can receive services to fulfill “the basic needs of their children.” The organization also runs 15 support centers throughout the country that provide medical and psychological support and helps families secure their basic material needs. The Smile of the Child employs social workers and psychologists who specialize in helping families in poverty. The centers also aim to open communication between family members and teach parents how to take proper care of their children. The charity’s services are free to every child in Greece.
  3. Lifting Hands International. With a focus on providing aid and relief to refugees worldwide, Lifting Hands International started its first project in Northern Greece. Its refugee center, a “buzzing hive of education and healing,” operates only 100 meters from refugee camps in Serres, Greece. There, refugees can take classes in language, arts, music and more. The center also distributes aid like fresh fruits and vegetables and hygiene products. By giving refugees not only the necessary products for survival but the necessary skills to thrive, Lifting Hands International allows refugees to escape poverty in a new environment.
  4. ActionAid. An international organization with roots in Greece, ActionAid has been fighting poverty since 1972, working in and with communities to improve lives and livelihoods. In Greece, ActionAid provides dynamic teaching and weekly training programs to impoverished youth at aid centers in Athens and Thessaloniki. ActionAid also helps organize campaigns for women’s rights both in Greece and globally, putting pressure on Greek and global governments to make the political decisions necessary to elevate vulnerable populations out of poverty.
  5. Hellenic Hope. Another one of the charities in Greece is Hellenic Hope, which focuses on helping more than 686,000 Greek children living in poverty. It provides children with necessities like food, medicine, educational opportunities and emotional support. The charity sponsors several projects throughout Greece. For example, a partnership with the American Farm School gives underprivileged high school students in Northern Greece access to top-tier “educational and commercial activities.” Hellenic Hope also sponsors “medical and pharmaceutical support” to Greek children experiencing poverty through a program titled Filoi tou Paidiou that provides care and assistance to uninsured children and families.

Overall, these charities in Greece show a commitment to helping impoverished Greeks in several crucial aspects, enabling disadvantaged citizens to rise out of poverty.

Zoe Tzanis
Photo: Flickr

running eventsMarathons and 5Ks offer opportunities to bond with community members, promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness of global poverty. As a result, millions of people participate in running events every year to fundraise for various causes. Since COVID-19 guidelines restrict large in-person gatherings, organizations have increasingly hosted races in which people can participate from anywhere. People can now join in from their city squares, their neighborhood parks or even their treadmills at home. As a result, greater numbers of people can contribute to the fight to end poverty.

3 Notable Running Events Addressing Global Poverty

  1. Run to Attack Poverty. This annual running event is hosted by a Texas-based organization with a global reach, Attack Poverty. Participants have the option to choose from running a 5K or a 10K, with a children’s race to include younger people too. In 2012, the organization opened a branch in Uganda called Friends of Uganda to help address issues of poverty in the country. Since its establishment, Friends of Uganda has helped address Uganda’s water shortage and provided healthcare services to thousands of Ugandans via “free mobile medical clinics.” Furthermore, friends of Uganda built a high school to accommodate roughly 104 students and established several micro-farms, all while creating job opportunities in the country. The Run to Attack Poverty race helps fund these efforts. The organization also sells Attack Poverty apparel to raise funds and spread awareness of the cause.
  2. 5K Run to End Poverty: The Acacia insurance group hosted this running event in support of Global Citizen’s fight against poverty. Acacia companies urged employees to partake in a virtual 5K to raise donations for the Global Citizen nonprofit. For every employee registered to run the 5K, Acacia donated to Global Citizen’s fight to end global poverty. Anyone at all, however, could register for a $15 donation to Global Citizen. The 5K was to be completed within 48 hours and allowed participants to run anywhere in the world, logging their runs via the atlasGO app.
  3. Global 6K for Water: The global nonprofit World Vision hosted this running event on May 22, 2021. The purpose of the run was to “bring life-changing clean water to those who need it most.” To gain as many participants as possible, World Vision encouraged people all around the world to participate, regardless of whether the individual chooses to “walk, jog or stroller-run.” Aside from the charitable run, for every $1 donation World Vision receives, the organization donates about 65 cents to community-based programs in almost 100 countries around the world. The remaining 35 cents goes toward impact maximization, which translates to investments in monitoring, fundraising, experts and more.

Running to Reduce Poverty

Even in a new, socially distanced landscape, both companies and nonprofits have utilized running events to raise awareness and donations to combat global poverty. Furthermore, companies and organizations like Acacia and World Vision have opened their races to more people through flexible start times and locations. As events like these continue, everyone can help support those who live in poverty, one step at a time.

Chloe Young
Photo: Flickr

 Aicha ChennaAicha Chenna, nicknamed “the Moroccan Mother Teresa,” is an important figure in Moroccan society. She devoted her life to fighting for women’s rights. She highlights the issue of single mothers in particular, which many consider taboo in Morocco. Within the country, many regard having kids outside of wedlock as an act of ignominy and dishonor to the family and society as a whole. It receives so much stigma that it can also lead to jail in some cases. To combat this, Aicha Chenna devoted her life to aiding single mothers and helping them become independent women.

Aicha Chenna’s Beginning

The activist Aicha Chenna began her journey as a state nurse and a social worker in the 1960s. As an employee at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Aicha Chenna witnessed single mothers having to abandon their babies for adoption, sometimes against their will. Aicha Chenna recounted, “In my office sat a young woman who was nursing her baby. She was about to sign the adoption papers and took the baby away from her breast to do so. The little one screamed and cried. That was the moment when it clicked for me. I had just had a baby myself and had recently returned from maternity leave. That night, I couldn’t sleep. The story kept going around and around in my head.” It was then that Aicha Chenna vowed to help single mothers.

Association Solidarité Feminine

Aicha Chenna established Association Solidarité Feminine (ASF) in 1985 in Casablanca. The goal of the association is to stand in solidarity with single mothers. The organization aims to help unmarried mothers stay united with their children and be able to be part of society. ASF offers single mothers a place to stay, literacy classes and job training. Further, the association has now added therapy counseling, cuisine and pastries training, sewing and accounting classes, fitness services and medicinal training. All of these services include daily childcare options and legal support. In this way, these single mothers gain the ability and support needed to reenter society.

The organization started modestly with two kitchens and some kiosks to aid 12 mothers. Since then, ASF has expanded into three separate locations. The Ain Sebaa center in Casablanca has dedicated itself to mothers in need of mental and emotional support. It provides educational services as well, including literacy classes. After women complete six months at the center, they meet with a social worker and a psychologist to discuss work options and training, including the restaurant or spa industry.

Progress For Moroccan Mothers

The activist Aicha Chenna, the Moroccan Mother Teresa, made strides in Moroccan society. Both Chenna and ASF received recognition and support from the Moroccan royal family. As such, the family laws underwent modification in 2004. The new laws state that extramarital sex is no longer a crime. Additionally, there are now paternity tests and new developments regarding the legal handling of children born outside of marriage. Thanks to the efforts of this daring activist, the chains of the societal taboos broke. Chenna’s work has saved the lives of thousands of single mothers and their children. These empowered mothers and their kids are able to rise out of poverty, decrease the number of social pressures they carry and lead full lives.

Zineb Williams
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Poverty in South America
A long history of imperialism, turmoil and instability has manifested itself into modern issues of poverty in South America. Countless grassroots and nongovernmental movements are providing help to the poor in this region. Many funds often drown in the complexities of bureaucratic and organizational structures, unfortunately. One individual is repurposing the term “influencer culture.” This refers to the social leverage that internet users with clout have. Aaron Murphy is creating mini-docuseries for awareness and sharing his personal payment service usernames. He is raising funds at a global scale that he directly pumps into the community. He is fighting poverty in South America through social media and videos.

Aaron Murphy

Aaron Murphy traveled to South America on a backpacking trip to learn Spanish. He now wanders across states in the region — mainly Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela — to empower families and communities. His entire journey is available for public access on his social media, specifically his YouTube and Tik Tok accounts. His posts and videos often include an effort to promote awareness along with a call to action. Notably, the content available on these platforms provides a candid view into the everyday life of people living in poverty in South America.

The intent is not to romanticize a serious issue. Instead, he aims to connect with his viewers, sharing the very human reality beyond the understanding of people who live with less. He includes mini-documentaries and conducts interviews with residents. Murphy willfully makes an effort to understand the communities he is in. Murphy has also vocalized part of his videos’ purpose is to remind viewers of the privileges and blessings they experience daily.

Vlogs and Awareness

Murphy’s posts calling people to action have gained large traction recently, especially on Tik Tok. The app’s algorithm works to boost trending videos and topics. His audience is growing along with efforts to support his organization. Murphy provides continuous updates on different projects, giving followers a transparent view of where their proceeds go. His videos also focus on documenting dialogue between individuals and families. He also translates what they say into English subtitles.

Murphy films his videos into vlogs. They cater to a younger audience and have a natural look. One series of videos prompted a wave of global action at the beginning of March 2021. Murphy was following a Venezuelan native community without quality access to housing and food. In the first video and caption, he showed the livelihood of the struggling community. He then urged followers to donate through Paypal and Venmo. Followers raised $12,000 after Murphy posted the video. This gave the Murphslife team the ability to provide the community beds for 112 huts.

The Murphslife Foundation

The Murphslife Foundation accepts funds through Patreon, Venmo, Paypal and Cash App to go towards its efforts fighting poverty in South America. It is a largely unique approach to tackling poverty in South America, though an effective one for convenient participation among younger activist communities. The organization has no connection to any tax-exempt status. Perhaps a testament to its efficacy, the organization is a young and rapidly growing one.

Oftentimes, there is little opportunity to provide direct help for international causes. Initiatives to eradicate poverty in South America have become saturated and commodified in ways similar to that of an enterprise. The nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations affect the people negatively. This takes place, though the organizations are important within the larger picture of a long-term solution to poverty.

It has an association with nationalities and governances, forced through sanctions and other diplomatic complications. Potential donors dull the impact of a donation when dissuaded from giving to charities for these political complications. Murphslife shows how short-term results are also incredibly effective solutions to help those in need. Going forward, hopefully, other organizations and influencers will follow Murphy’s model of fighting poverty in South America. This will help them anchor their support in the fight to end poverty as a whole.

– Danielle Han
Photo: Flickr

Mesut Özil’s Charity WorkMesut Özil is one of the world’s wealthiest soccer players. In addition, Mesut Özil’s charity work has related strongly to his athletic efforts. He previously played for Arenal London and recently joined the Turkish club Fenerbahce Istanbul. Arsenal London declared a 12.5% pay cut for its players and manager Mikel Arteta due to the pandemic. However, Özil rejected this cut. As a result, he created discrepancies between him and the club and Özil no longer underwent selection for games. While Özil received some criticism from online communities, many fans continued to support him because he donates significantly to charities.

Özil Recognizes His Privileged Position

Mesut Özil was born in Germany as the fourth child of Turkish immigrants. Özil’s family struggled financially throughout his entire childhood and his mother had to take on several different cleaning jobs to make ends meet. As a result, Özil recognized his incredibly privileged position as a successful soccer player. He is extremely compassionate toward impoverished communities. Thus, Özil has been giving back to those who desperately need aid.

Supporting Impoverished Communities

Özil’s salary at Arsenal London was an estimated $25 million a year in 2013. Thus, the 12.5% cut would have decreased his salary by about $3.2 million a year. Additionally, the club and its billionaire owner Stan Kroenke would gain his loss. Furthermore, Özil and other players were doubtful that their pay cuts would actually aid staff members. Özil stated that he was even willing to give up more of his salary if the club could prove it was necessary. In the end, he decided to increase his charity work instead.

Mesut Özil’s Charity Work

Özil’s refusal to accept the pay cut placed him in the center of media attention in 2020. However, many have known him for his incredibly generous nature for a long time. For example, Özil donated his prize money of $329,000 after winning the World Cup in 2014. He donated to the BigShoe project and financed vital surgeries for 23 children in Brazil. Additionally, Özil and his wife donated to 16 refugee camps in Turkey and Syria after their wedding. Their contribution provided food to about 100,000 people. Furthermore, the couple funded important surgeries for about 1,000 children around the world.

The Way Özil Spent the Money he Refused to Give Up

Özil donated money to support people in need all across the globe after rejecting Arsenal’s pay cut. Homeless shelters and schools in North London received nutritious food in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he increased his financial contributions to the BigShoe project to provide children with much-needed surgeries. He also donated $111,542 to the Turkish Red Crescent in May 2020. The money went toward feeding families in Turkey and Syria during Ramadan. Mesut Özil’s charity work also introduced a new range of footwear and donated all of the money that the footwear earned. It granted children in Italy access to digital education materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans and the media continue to criticize Özil’s refusal of the pay cut. Many consider the money he donated to impoverished communities to be more important than giving it back to Arsenal. However, Özil’s charity work has had an undeniable positive impact on many people’s lives.

– Bianca Adelman
Photo: Flickr

Agencies Accept Shoe Donations Even During COVID-19 Pandemic
Donating old clothes is often one of the easiest ways people can help the less fortunate. From coat drives in the winter to fight hypothermia to toddler outfits for newborns in poverty, there has always been an immense amount of value in used clothes. However, during the global pandemic, both organizations and donors have shied away from accepting or donating pre-owned clothes in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19. Yet, shoe donations remain a safe way to donate to those in need. For people living in extreme poverty, owning just one pair can be life-changing. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe are unable to afford shoes. This includes countless school children. A simple shoe donation can protect someone from hookworm, puncture wounds, sores and blisters, and provide overall comfort. In regions of the world where cars and public transportation are scarce, walking is a means of survival.

The Importance of Shoes in the Developing World

Resources are not as readily available in impoverished regions and can require a person to travel long distances to obtain them. In Africa and Asia, the average distance to reach clean water is 3.7 miles on foot. For medical resources, the journey is even longer. A study in Niger revealed that 61% of the population needed to walk for more than one hour to reach a hospital. This includes pregnant women trying to receive proper healthcare, and anyone experiencing a health emergency. Traveling over two hours on foot for medical care is excruciating, and requires addressing. Luckily, these important charities are working to bring shoes to those who need them most.

Put Foot Foundation

School children are the primary focus of the Put Foot Foundation. Growing up with proper footwear can help children’s feet avoid injury and allow them to play worry-free. The foundation locates schools in South Africa that have student populations unable to obtain shoes and launches a “shoe drop.” Armed with comfortable all-purpose shoes in various sizes for both girls and boys, these shoe drops provide entire schools with footwear for all children. In many cases, the Put Foot Foundation provides children with their very first pair of shoes.

Shoe4Africa

Born out of a runner’s trip to Africa, Shoe4Africa began in the mid-1990s. In the 25 years since the nonprofit began, it opened multiple schools and a hospital that has treated more than 200,000 patients. This was possible because of all the donations that it received at its numerous events, centered mostly around running. While the work has changed to include healthcare and educational improvements, Shoe4Africa does not forget its roots in shoe donations. Seeing women and children walk miles barefoot for basic human resources motivated this agency to begin, and to this day, it still delivers shoes to Africans in need.

Soles For Jesus

The work that church congregations in Africa are doing is crucial to improve living conditions. The nonprofit organization Soles For Jesus noticed the significant need for footwear in Africa and made it a part of its church mission to alleviate the issue. Donations of new and gently used shoes go to a warehouse where people separate pairs by sizes and place them in new boxes. After it collects a total of 8,000 pairs, a freight ship carries the load to its destination. The shoes then undergo distribution to the numerous church congregations that Soles For Jesus has a relationship with. This ensures that it sends pairs all across the African continent, rather than one specific country. Over half a million pairs of shoes that Soles For Jesus has sent out have reached people who rely on walking to access basic needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down donations of material goods all across the world. Yet, shoe donations have remained a safe, helpful and easy way to improve the lives of those in the direst situations. These three charity organizations continue to accept donations of new and pre-owned shoes throughout the year. People who must travel 3.7 miles on foot to get fresh water cannot stop because of the pandemic, and neither can the agencies trying to send them the proper footwear for their journeys.

Zachary Hardenstine
Photo: Flickr

Z EventEven though the world is more connected than ever, poverty remains a large problem as many people are left behind. Fortunately, the internet has been used as a platform for change, resulting in unprecedented awareness of global poverty. One example of this is Z Event, a French charity project hosted annually on the live streaming website Twitch. Z Event started with just two people who wanted global change. The video gaming event has been shattering world records and raising millions of dollars for charity.

Twitch Live Stream Platform

Z Event would not have been possible without the rise of the Twitch platform. Twitch is a website that people can use for live streaming. This means that whatever viewers are watching is happening in real-time. This creates a new world of interactivity. While Twitch was originally created for live streaming video games, the website has now expanded into other genres like art, music and chess. Twitch now has a massive following, with over 140 million monthly users.

It was only a matter of time before content creators used Twitch as a platform to raise money for charity. In July 2013, Summer Games Done Quick raised $257,181 for Doctors Without Borders in a charity stream on Twitch. As Twitch started growing in popularity, charity streams became even more popular. In 2019, Twitch streamer “DrLupo”, raised more than $2.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 24 hours.

Video Gaming: Z Event

With the success of charity streams in the past and the increasing global presence of Twitch, the time was right for Z Event. In March 2016, a charity stream called “Avengers Project” raised 170,000 euros for Save the Children. The goal of the project was to gather every popular French streamer to raise awareness for certain issues. While the project started small, the annual event grew considerably. In 2017, the now named “Z Event” raised 500,000 euros. Z Event is the annual charity event by French streamers ZeratoR and Dach. As the project grew larger, more popular French streamers joined the event. In 2020, 41 Twitch streamers participated in the event.

Video Gaming for a Cause

While each individual streamer is popular on their own, their platform increases exponentially when combined. In 2020, the event had an average of 248 thousand viewers with a peak of nearly 700 thousand viewers. This large amount of awareness led to large sums of money raised for charity. In 2019, Z Event hit the world record for most money raised in a charity stream on Twitch, over 3.5 million euros. In 2020, Z Event shattered its own record, raising over 5.7 million euros, which is approximately $6.7 million.

Each year, the event raises money for a different cause. The money raised in 2019 was for the Pasteur Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches diseases. In 2020, Z Event raised money for Amnesty International, an organization focused on global human rights.

Video Gamers Uniting for Charity

These efforts have been applauded by many. Mark Hamill supported Z Event on Twitter and President of France, Emmanuel Macron has also commended the project.

While poverty remains a problem in the world today, the growing platform of the internet along with websites like Twitch show significant promise. Millions of dollars have been raised for charity to fight poverty. France’s Z Event shows that when people come together, the impact is substantial.

– Evan Weber
Photo: Flickr