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R&B singer John Legend's song “Show Me,” presented some heavy questions to God about life, death and suffering. Then, after reading Jeffrey Sachs' book The End of Poverty, Legend extended those questions to his fellow man, and to himself.

The book made him realize how possible it could be to set impoverished villages into an uphill spiral of self sufficiency and progress, so Legend created his own Show Me Campaign to raise the required funds, and partnered with Sachs’ Millennium Promise to serve needy African villages.

Rather than doling out money to destitute villages though, the organizations are doing practical things like providing 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.

In this way, money is traceable and the results are tangible and obvious. Legend says, “The aim is to get people onto the ladder of development so that they can climb off on their own. It’s a hand up, not hand out.”

He says if 80,000 people donated $20 each, the cost of going out to a couple of movies, a village of 5000 could be supported for five years and rendered self-sustaining thereafter. “Some people will say with some justification that we have a lot of problems here at home that we still need to solve. But I don’t believe you have to choose. I think every life is valuable and poverty anywhere is something we should address.”

His spring “Show Me Tour” will be in support of this cause.

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