Why We Are Doing This

August 11, 2015

Just some of the reasons we launched the Basic Needs Challenge

August 11, 2015

With so many worthy causes all over the world, as well as right here at home in Vancouver, Canada, people often ask me: Why South Sudan? What about something closer to home?

The short answer is – we do both! My husband and I have supported a variety of local charities for our entire lives. We’re always finding ways to assist a variety of causes on a local, national and international level by volunteering, advocating and donating. Examples include volunteering time at local children’s hospitals, donating financially to international environmental causes, and organizing/playing benefit concerts for national disasters, just to name a small few.

This particular campaign is focused on South Sudan because the people there ALSO need our help right now. They are desperate. A famine caused by draught and war is threatening to become a reality – one that will devastate nearly 5 million people.

As Nicolas Kristoff recently detailed in his latest NY TIMES article, “A horrific famine enveloped what is now South Sudan in 1988, and there are some signs that this year could see a repeat.  The only certainty is that it will get worse in the coming months, and the women and girls who die will be war casualties…Those who are dying of gunshots are fewer than those who are dying of hunger.”

On my last trip to South Sudan, I sat in villages with people who were barely surviving. I looked into their eyes, held their sick children, shared their dirty water and I knew that I could make a difference.  We are all sharing this world together – so I find no need to compartmentalize people into regions where I can or should help.

When it comes to supporting charities, whether it’s in your backyard or the other side of the world, the point is to pick an area where you want to see change and do your best to make a difference. People who’ve seen my Tedx Talk have heard me talk about how the smallest efforts on our part can have the biggest impact. Whether it’s donating financially, or giving your time, or helping to raise awareness, I encourage people to help where needed however they feel compelled. And the best part of helping others? You will feel just as good as those you’ve helped.

If someone needs help, I want to help. Period. — Treana Peake, Founder, Obakki Foundation