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Pawel
Before change must come awareness. Polish cartoonist Pawel Kuczynski has been using his talent for the past decade to do just that. His satirical illustrations evoke grim emotions and cause his viewers to think about the current state of the world. Things are not as they appear and Kuczynski is literally showing the public what they do not know about politics.

Kuczynski’s drawings expose the irony of everyday occurrences by taking them out of context and juxtaposing these normal events with harsh reality. Topics range from political disillusion, pollution, child labor and income inequality. Kuczynski seems to be asking the public to realize the true nature of their place in the world, not only as puppets of a larger global system but also as players in an unbalanced field.

The image above touches on harsh labor, the global economy and inequality. Kuczynski plays on the story of Santa Claus and as homes in the West are filled with gifts, they are completely oblivious as to where these toys are made. The morning sun is replaced by the Chinese Communist Party banner which hangs over child and impoverished laborers as they slave away to make affordable, consumer-friendly products. Ultimately, Kuczynski is criticizing our world’s affection for material goods and our incredible ability to ignore human suffering because it is far away.

We are constantly told the cost of war and how much of our tax dollars are dedicated to defense. Instead of beads on an abacus, soldiers are counted as this businessman tallies up his profits. Even though it costs tax dollars and human lives to sustain a war, money is still to be made. Weapons manufacturers watch their profits soar as wars drag on, and companies on the winning side sit on the edge of their seats to gain a new market. Kuczynski points out that war requires more than dollars – human lives are spent just as quickly – and in the end, it’s all business.

Visit http://pawelkuczynski.com/ for more.

– Alessandra Luppi

Sources: Visual News, Visual News

Every non-profit has an honorable start to their missions, but Robert C. Macauley, founder of AmeriCares, has a particular focus. On April 4, 1975, a United States jet carrying 243 Vietnamese orphans crashed in the jungle outside of Tan Son Nhut. The U.S. was unable to reach them within 10 days, and when Macauley heard this news, he did what any good-hearted American would dream of doing. He chartered a plane and brought them to the U.S. within 48 hours.

Macauley was a paper broker in Connecticut at the time, he and his wife took out a mortgage on their house to pay for the $10,000 down payment for the Boeing 747. His dislike of bureaucratic red tape cost him his home, but gave him a calling.

Macauley’s calling gave rise to one of the largest non-profits in the world, AmeriCares. Currently, the organization works in over 90 countries and has supplied over $10 billion in aid, both foreign and domestic. Here are just three examples of their impact:

1. Relief Aid in Poland – 1981

Before AmeriCares, official conception, Robert Macauley had donated his time and money to a number of causes, but his action in Vietnam brought good media. News spread quickly of Macauley’s actions and in 1981, Pope John Paul II asked for his assistance. At the time, Poland was under martial law and in desperate need of medical supplies. By 1982, Macauley had gently wrestled $1.5 million in medical supplies from over a dozen companies. March of that year, he was able to airlift the supplies to Poland. This was the first official act of AmeriCares and an impressive one at that.

2. The Darfur/Sudan Conflict – 2011

In 2004, AmeriCares began a long-term relief effort in Sudan by delivering medical aid in order to support health services for the survivors on the Sudan conflict. With South Sudan’s independence in 2011 came a rush of refugees and native South Sudanese returning to their homes. Most were in need of shelter and medical assistance.

AmeriCares began supporting the efforts of Relief International in their health outposts and camps. In Renk, funds were used to rehabilitate three health clinics and installations of emergency medical modules. This helped with treatment of diarrheal diseases, medical waste management, sanitation and health education. The health clinics also saw installations of exam tables and benches in waiting rooms. These clinics served 14,000 survivors at Renk and another 13,000 in the Gendrassa camp. AmeriCares replenished low stocks of first aid supplies in Gendrassa.

3. Hurricane Sandy Relief – 2012

The most recent natural disaster seen in the United States was Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. More than 80,000 residences were damaged and 8.5 million people were left without shelter or power. AmeriCares has provided over $6 million in aid that has benefited more than 465,000 people. Skilled in crisis relief, AmeriCares has supplied medicine, insulin and vaccines, enough bottled water for $75,000 people, diapers for 17,000 and much more for those in need. $2.5 million went to fund programs that provide displaced citizens with emergency warmth, disaster clean up and mental health counseling in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.

Currently, AmeriCares is looking for grant proposals from groups who are starting projects to help with the health needs of Sandy survivors. On July 14, New Jersey was awarded $200,000 in grants to help the elderly, disabled and low-income residents recover.

– Jordan Bradley

Sources: AmeriCares, The NY Times, Darien News, Queens Chronicle
Photo: Forbes