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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Saving Lives In Comfort and Style: Irony or Opportunity?

On Saturday night, over 1,700 people will congregate at the Vancouver Convention Centre to celebrate the power of their generosity. Our flagship HOPE International Development Agency Film Premiere and Dinner is the occasion, but it’s more to the point to say that Filipino families will be bringing them there.

The Convention Centre is a milestone in Vancouver’s architectural and cultural development as a premiere city. Guests who attend the Premiere will be served a fine meal. They will be surrounded by beauty and grandeur—the pinnacle of what our economically rich society can achieve. The experience of our guests will be a world away — literally and figuratively — from what the beneficiaries of the occasion experience, day after day.

The families in the Philippines upon whom this year’s Premiere and Dinner series focuses on are the poorest of the poor. Of course they are. Why else would we be traveling across the country, exposing people who can help to their plight? They live with unimaginable choices. Leave your family to find dangerous, far-off work or watch them all starve. Give your children diseased water to drink or watch them dehydrate. Pull your children from school so they can help you scrape together the means to survive or watch the weakest members of the family die off.

There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that, in the course of helping these families, we will see the most beautiful hotels, eat the most delicious meals, and experience genuinely diverting entertainment. In a way it doesn’t seem right.

But if you choose to attend one of the Film Premieres and Dinners, perhaps you should treat it as an occasion to fully realize all that you have — and to go the next step and accept the fact that, for you, it is truly possible to help. We don’t see a contradiction in enjoying yourselves while you save lives. In fact, the choice to give is one that we want to celebrate with you and we hope we get the chance to do that this year.

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