When Grammy Award-winning soulster John Legend first read The End of Poverty by Earth Institute director Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, he was so inspired that he traveled straight to Ghana to learn more about the problems faced by African countries. The book made him realize how it could be possible to set impoverished villages onto the road of self sufficiency and progress, and the trip showed him how he himself could make a difference to the lives of millions.
Legend established the Show Me Campaign to raise the required funds soon after his fact-finding mission, and partnered with Sachs’ Millennium Promise Alliance to serve needy African villages. In 2008, both Legend and Sachs made a tour of universities all over the US to encourage social, economic, personal, and educational growth. Called the Poverty Action Tour, the sessions challenged people to support the fight against poverty, and promote the charities and groups that champion the cause.
Rather than giving out money to destitute villages, the Show Me Campaign and Millennium Promise are more practical. They provide mosquito nets to curb the millions of avoidable deaths from malaria, free meals to children attending school which raises attendance rates and health, safe water points, local clinics and fertilizer to improve crop production and eradicate food shortages.
“Some people will say with some justification that we have a lot of problems here at home that we still need to solve,” said the 29-year-old singer. “But I don’t believe you have to choose. I think every life is valuable and poverty anywhere is something we should address.”
Legend performed at a concert benefitting the Jason Collier Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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