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World Vision's One Life Exhibit Opens in Metrotown

February 19th, 2009 @ 2:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time and World Vision is trying to spread awareness across our nation with the One Life exhibition that shows you the effect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on a child growing up in Africa.

World Vision - One Life

From now until March 1st the One Life exhibit will take up 2,000 square feet at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. During a 20-minute audio tour, you will follow the life of a specific child and hear their story. The goal is to, “inspire Canadians to move beyond the statistics by hearing the voice of a child in the midst of this struggle.”

World Vision - One Life

I was given a preview of One Life this morning at the media opening and all I can say was that it was enlightening and compelling. Just to know all the myths and stigmas floating around these cultures with regards to HIV/Aids and learning of the alarming rate at which children and adults are dying across the globe because of this is staggering.

When you stop by the One Life exhibit at Metrotown (in the Grand Court), you’ll be given an iPod shuffle and audio will play with the voice of a narrator guiding you through the life of someone very special – giving you just the slightest idea of the impact of this crisis on one helpless child.

World Vision - One Life

Today I heard Olivia’s story and as I walked through the exhibit I started to feel bad just thinking about where I was and what I was experiencing while surrounded by dignitaries and the glow of commerce in a shopping mall. I then started to realize that point of the entire exhibition is hope; giving hope to those thousands of miles away, letting them know we are aware of their situation (although cannot even fathom the extent) and that people are very willing to help out.

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

One of the people I look up to most in the world is my sister, and with 5 amazing children to raise they all still have the time to support a World Vision child as well. “Especially in these economic times it really makes us appreciate what we have and that we have the opportunity to help someone that hasn’t had the fortunes we have, living in Canada.”

Today I also ran into Stephen Fung and John Chow — now say what you will about John’s money-making ways online but out of every single event I have attended for a non-profit, John Chow is the person I run into the most at each one.

World Vision - One Life

Hope resounds through personal notes, the sponsoring of a Hope Child, or simply getting the message out and doing your part. We only get one life and I’m pretty sure what I want to do with mine is to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance at theirs.

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  • 9 comments

    1. Lisa says:

      World Vision is not the organisation people think it is. I have witnessed the negative impact of their work first-hand in Africa, over the course of 7 years in the field: they create badly-run projects and walk away, leaving people without hope or support. Their ‘vision’ does not centre on helping the poor, rather indoctrinating the poor in Christian dogma. I think it is unfortunate that Metrotown would support such an ill-advised display.

    2. Miss604 says:

      Lisa, when it comes to people who are making a difference around the globe (and even right here at home) I don’t even take religion into account. There are amazing groups and organizations of every race, creed, and religion — from the UGM here in Vancouver to Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen.

      At least they are informing people of the situation. If you do not support them as an organization, you can find another in the same regions that is doing the work (maybe even something like The Red Cross, Urban Project or Doctors Without Borders?) But the fact is they are getting the word out, which in my opinion is extremely important.

    3. Bonnie says:

      Lisa,I actually know for a fact that World Vision, while a faith-based organization, does not make evangelism their main focus, hence they are present in over 90 countries. If the preaching of the gospel were their mandate, you can be sure that the governments of predominatnly Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, etc. Nations would allow them in. World Vision’s mandate is to serve wherever there is need – period. We should all be doing the same, even right here in our own Nation. I have been a World Vision sponsor for almost 10 years and have even visited one of my sponsor children, overseas. World Vision’s expertise in sustainable Community Development is evident. It is important that one is completely informed of the works of an organization before making such claims. Of course there are other great organizations out there, as well, but what this one is doing, to the scope and magnitude that lives are being changed, is undeniable.

    4. Nicole says:

      I would like to add that even though WorldVision is criticized for having higher overhead costs (which therefore leads to less of your donation actually making it to the recipient) they have very comprehensive programs.

      I ran World Vision’s 30 hour famine for three years and believe me, I looked for alternative programs, I researched other possibilities, but the fact is that World Vision’s is the best. They provide an amazing package for the Famine coordinator, which includes posters, radio announcements, email templates, permission slip templates, tax receipt explanations and good prizes to encourage higher pledge totals from participants.

      If this comprehensive program did not exist, I would not have been able to run the famine. As a high school student, I needed to be able to convince Administration that it would be okay to have 100 kids sleep in the school,something which could be a huge liability. The package World Vision provided enabled me to start a tradition in my school that I am very proud to have been a part of. My grad year we raised over $10,000.00. The event simply would not have happened those three years and NONE of that money would have gone to charity if it weren’t for World Vision.

      So, you can criticize them, sure, but my experience with them thus far has been positive. I admit I don’t have field experience in the places or with the people they claim to help, and thank you Lisa for increasing my awareness, but – like Rebecca says – they do a great job creating awareness.

    5. Lisa says:

      I appreciate other opinions, but I’ve worked with communities where WV has had a significant presence, and it is very much faith-based — and that money will not go to communities that are not governed by Christian values. Believe what you want, but after working in the field for as long as I have, I’m not impressed, and I can say with all certainty that their work has been proven through academic research to reinforce behaviours that exacerbate AIDS-related issues, specifically in Uganda. I also don’t believe that ‘raising awareness’ is helpful if it is coloured by this type of activity. JMHO.

    6. Bonnie says:

      Lisa, your experience is honestly so “out there”, from all my experiences, that I wonder if you’re sure you’re talking about World Vision. What has your role been in “the field”? Are you with a different organization? And what do you mean by “reinforcing behaviours that exacerbate HIV/AIDS”? I know that some people like to think so, but large organizations like this cannot just put claims like these on their sites (http://www.worldvision.ca/Programs-and-Projects/HIV-and-AIDS-Initiative/Pages/HIV-and-AIDS-Initiative.aspx) and not get called on it from major influencers. To me, it seems counter intuitive that such a large organization would be around for so long, receive sometimes exclusive government matching in such things as natural disasters (I gave to the China and Burma reliefs through World Vision because of these government matches), and yet are being portrayed in the way that you have described. I urge each person to do their own research and go with their own hearts, rather than allow negative comments to turn you off from being a part of this global fight. Thank you, Rebecca, for bringing this exhibit to our attention.

    7. Jenny says:

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention. World Vision is a wonderful organization that brings hope to forgotten people all over the world, no matter who they are.

    8. Lori says:

      I myself have played a volunteer role with World Vision for over 24 years. My first experience was when World Vision partnered with us to help the poverty stricken areas of Bogota Colombia. Before they would partner with us – we had to lay out the goals (5-10yrs)and many other details. Our first draft wasn’t good enough and we had to re-vamp it. Once we were able to partner with them for several projects to educate the community on several issues and provide for some immediate needs…they were meticulous in the accountability – to the cent! It was actually annoying. There was absolutely no screening as to whether a person was a Christian or not – We knew the families well and they got help when they needed it. It is because of that experience, where the money HAD to go exactly to where it was supposed to and ALL of it, that we support several children, promote World Vision to our friends and family and use World Vision Gift catalogue to give at Christmas. The event at Metro Town is outstanding and for those who have sponsered children – this is the next best thing to being able to visit them. It is very impacting and educational.

    9. [...] started off at the Grand Court (where I experienced the World Vision exhibit… and Santa Claus) where they had two impressive animatronic dinosaurs on display. [...]

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