How You Can Help
There are many ways you can “walk your talk” about the problems of adult literacy, AIDS, and the advancement of global democracy and get involved. You can read to an illiterate. Better yet, you can try and teach him or her to read on their own. You can put up downloadable posters about the importance of literacy and fighting AIDS in your workplace or workspace. You can sponsor or just participate in a “read-in” or a “read-a-thon.” You can also join an AIDS walk-a-thon or sign an on-line petition. Read a book in public or make friends with someone who has AIDS! These are great ways to get the message across. There are so many ways you can join the fight.
As for global democracy, my goodness, there is no limit to what individuals can do to help out. How about voting? That really demonstrates to others that you believe in democracy. And you know what? Sometimes democracy gets a “bad rap.” Instead of criticizing democracy, try and concentrate on its many good points. Talk about democracy with your family, friends, and neighbors. Can it be improved? If so, how? And how can it be advanced globally? The world needs your ideas!
The one thing we cannot do is nothing. Apathy is not an option. As mushrooms grow in darkness, so illiteracy, AIDS, and a slowing of the spread of democracy thrive in silence. We can never overcome the problems of adult illiteracy, AIDS, and non-democracy if we do not utterly erase the shame associated with them. In your dealings with illiterates, make sure that they know that illiteracy is a disease and not “their fault.” Be sure you tell them that. Just don’t write it down and give it to them to read. (That’s a little joke I tell at illiteracy events. And you know what? The biggest laughs are always from the illiterates themselves!)
Regarding AIDS, make a real commitment to doing something about it. Don’t just pay “lip service” to the issue. Get serious! Deal with it!
And, look, people who suffer under oppression in un-democratic countries often feel a sense of hopelessness about their situation. Don’t you give into hopelessness about their situation, as well.
Making a donation to the Meyer Fund is perhaps the best way to get the most “bang for the buck” in your personal battle with adult illiteracy, AIDS, and the forces that resist democracy. Rather than give up an hour of your time to volunteer at, say, an AIDS hospice or an adult illiteracy center or a human rights call center, spend an extra hour at work and donate your salary from that hour to the Meyer Fund. Because we work with so many groups that we vet individually and because of the scale of our effort, you can be sure that each dollar entrusted to us will go very far indeed.
Here are some other worthy anti-adult illiteracy, AIDS, and global democracy organizations and resources: