Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Starfish in the Ocean

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean.

Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl and thought about what she had done and said. He joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

This is the story of Starfish. Some say that it’s a folk tale; others say it was adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley.

For us, it’s the story of children in Africa who are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In South Africa, there are 2 million children who are orphaned by AIDS, and over 500,000 are themselves are infected.

These colossal numbers can be difficult to take in, but in the face of such overwhelming statistics, our work is more vital than ever before. The people we are helping are not numbers, but children, each with their own stories.

We are starting this blog to help share these stories. These are stories from the children, and from the volunteers and local partners who are making a difference in their own communities. These are from all of you.

Will you join us and save one starfish in the ocean?
--Leana Wen & Sebastian Walker