2006.04.12: April 12, 2006: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Women's Issues: Ball State Daily News: During her time in the Peace Corps, Ann Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Peace Corps Cameroon: The Peace Corps in Cameroon: 2006.04.12: April 12, 2006: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Women's Issues: Ball State Daily News: During her time in the Peace Corps, Ann Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon

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During her time in the Peace Corps, Ann Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon

During her time in the Peace Corps, Ann Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon

Varghese loaned her host mother $15 to buy material to make decorative bags, which Varghese then helped her sell to Peace Corps volunteers for about $2 a piece. "It was literally like I was handing her independence and handing her empowerment," Varghese said. "She was really overcome with surprise and joy and all these things."

During her time in the Peace Corps, Ann Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon

Speaker discusses fighting poverty

Student starts local ONE Campaign to get community involved

Emily Ortman

Issue date: 4/12/06 Section: NEWS

Katie Papper believes one Ball State University student can help in the international fight against poverty.

During the summer, Papper, a junior at Ball State, learned about the national ONE Campaign and international Live 8 concert, which worked to unite the voices of billions of people in the fight against poverty. This international demonstration inspired her to get involved with the ONE Campaign on the local level.

But, after researching, she discovered there was no local ONE organization.

Papper began a Ball State chapter of the ONE Campaign this year, believing she, as one person, could help.

"People need to understand that one person can make a huge difference," Papper said.

As one of its first outreach events, the new campus organization contacted Ann Varghese, the ONE Campaign faith outreach organizer for Bread for the World, a Christian organization that lobbies for change in public policies to help fight poverty.

Varghese spoke to a group of students and faculty members Tuesday night about her experiences working with people living in poverty and what students could do to help the campaign.

During her time in the Peace Corps, Varghese said she worked with uneducated and underprivileged women in Cameroon, Africa. She had a host mother who took her under her wing and helped her get to know other women in the community. Varghese helped educate the women on issues such as budgeting and planning.

Varghese loaned her host mother $15 to buy material to make decorative bags, which Varghese then helped her sell to Peace Corps volunteers for about $2 a piece.

"It was literally like I was handing her independence and handing her empowerment," Varghese said. "She was really overcome with surprise and joy and all these things."

Varghese also helped another group of women reach their goal of obtaining $2,500 through grants and fundraising. The women used this money to build a water pump to provide about 500 people in their community with clean water.

"They know what they need," Varghese said. "They just need help to get it."

In the women's community, unclean water caused people to live their lives in a constant state of sickness. Varghese said while she was there, she was sick about 70 percent of the time because of the unclean water.

Since she's left, Varghese said the women have continued working together on other projects.

Now, Varghese is traveling around to different places to spread the word about the ONE Campaign. She told students that while the American people were very generous in their donations, the U.S. government did not give enough. Right now, she said the government gives less than 1 percent of its budget to fight international poverty. The campaign's goal is to convince the government to spend an additional 1 percent, for a total of $25 billion. While this may seem like a lot compared to other governments, she said the U.S. was second to last on the list in the percentage of its total budget it spends on fighting poverty.

"It's surprising how much the government isn't doing," senior Julia Sabatine said after Varghese's presentation.

In order to get the attention of the government, Varghese said the campaign encouraged people to write letters and make phone calls, not just give money.

"Please don't walk out of this room and never think about this issue again," Varghese said to the audience. "Each one of us has the power to do something."

Congressman Mike Pence, who represents 6th District of Indiana, which includes Muncie, is on the International Relations Committee and could have a great influence on this, she said.

"We need to get this stuff on the radar screen," Varghese said. "We need to let them know that people in Muncie, Indiana care about global poverty."

Sabatine said this campaign was something all Ball State students could actively get involved in.

"We might not be able to give $5, but we can give our energy," she said.

Papper said she was excited people seemed interested in the ONE campaign and trying to help. She said she planned to work on several more events to help raise awareness, such as a holding a "mini-Live 8 concert," coordinating dinner and working with the local group fighting poverty in Delaware County.

"This isn't just a global issue, it's a local issue," she said. "If you see it, it becomes more real to you."





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Story Source: Ball State Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Women's Issues

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