"A couple of years ago I was touched by a book entitled ‘The Hole in Our Gospel’ by Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision, a Christian relief charity. In the book Stearns speaks about his first experiences of extreme poverty and how he got involved in the fight against it. He also used facts, figures and strong quotes, for example from Bono: “We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies. But will we be that generation?”
The story gave me a feeling of longing to be part of this, and also made me aware that the goal of eliminating extreme poverty is, in fact, within reach. I always assumed that this was an unsolvable problem, that there will always be some poverty, but it doesn’t have to be that way if everyone contributes their part. That was something that triggered me and after a year I learned about a movement called ‘ the 4th Musketeer’ (de 4e Musketier). This organisation combines physical challenges with the fight against world problems, standing up for justice, human trafficking and poverty. Last year I ran the ‘Muskathlon’ (a 42-kilometre marathon) in Uganda and raised €15,000. Together with three other men from my church we collected almost €50,000 in total, money that was used for nutrition and education for children in Uganda and Ethiopia. In addition to running the marathon we also visited people in very rural areas, and saw the poverty, the hunger and the scarcity up close.
My I WILL statement is “I will run to fight poverty”. I made this statement to give my project more publicity, in my own personal environment as well as at work. Additionally, it was also meant as a source of inspiration for others and to create awareness. The statement portrays my personal goal for that year, and it was something that I actually did fulfil. I really do feel like I contributed.
Moreover, my 23-year old daughter Janske was inspired by my story, and up coming May she will run the Muskathlon in Uganda. So far she already raised more than €23,000!
You can look at poverty with the attitude of being unable to do anything about it, but the fact that you can’t do everything - that you can’t solve the problem by yourself - shouldn’t mean you do nothing."
Dr. Ben Bode, Dutch
Lecturer of Statistics
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