Monthly Archives: September 2009

Inflation outrageous in Zimbabwe

By Jane Sutton-Redner
We think we have economic woes … imagine living in Zimbabwe.

Top, today's Zimbabwean bill. Below, from 2007.

Top, today's Zimbabwean bill. Below, from 2007.

When Kari Costanza and Jon Warren were there two years ago for the Spring 2008 magazine, 200,000 Zimbabwean dollars were worth about one U.S. dime. Then a few weeks ago, our colleague, Andrea Peer, was traveling in Southern Africa, and at the Johannesburg airport, she was given a Zimbabwean bill worth 50 trillion dollars—13 zeros! And apparently it isn’t even enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Please keep children and families in Zimbabwe in your prayers.

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Photo causes concern

By Jane Sutton-Redner

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Jon Warren/World Vision

A reader and child sponsor, Kathy Kuhn, wrote to express her dismay at this photo in the article about child mortality, “Fighting for Their Lives,” in the Autumn issue.

“The second and third most common cause of infant mortality you have listed, pneumonia and diarrhea, are greatly reduced by exclusive breastfeeding,” wrote Kathy, an RN and lactation specialist. “Images of infants bottle-feeding promote the idea that bottle-feeding is the norm and reduce the odds that women will successfully breastfeed.”

This is a great point—and not what we intended. Aware of the exceptional benefits of breastfeeding, health workers in all World Vision programs promote breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for babies’ first six months, and continued breastfeeding for up to 24 months. The impact of breastfeeding on children’s health is remarkable—Kathy passed along a statistic from the World Health Organization estimating that if 90 percent of the world’s babies were exclusively breastfed for six months, it could reduce infant deaths by 1.3 million. Continue reading

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Too many choices

Winter cover #5By Jane Sutton-Redner

My team is working on the Winter 2009 magazine, and as often happens, we have a dilemma—too many great options for the cover photo. I know, that’s a “problem” in the vein of having to choose a dessert at the Cheesecake Factory.

I can’t decide whether to blame Jon Warren for his usual high-quality photography or the country of Ethiopia, which produces some of the world’s most beautiful children. And yet I must blame someone, because of all the roles I play in this job, Decider-in-Chief is probably the hardest for me.

Winter cover #13Today, emboldened by a conversation with Mike Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson (fast becoming a social media guru), I’m going to do something risky (for us) and put our dilemma out there. See to the left some of the 20-odd images we’re considering for the Winter cover. If you have any strong feelings, please comment! This week we’ll be working with our designers to settle on one image, based in part on the cover lines we formulate. Input from you just might sway us.

Winter cover #15Let me add, sometimes choosing a cover is easy—one image pops out, and a moment later you can’t imagine any other photo there. The Summer magazine was a slam-dunk like that (see the first cover in the top graphic of this blog). All of us—the editors, designers, and Jon himself—saw the power and simplicity in the shadowed profile of the girl whose story was so movingly told inside.

But this time, the more I look at these children’s lovely faces and pure expressions, the harder it becomes to choose among them. In about a month, when this issue rolls off the press, I’ll tell you how and why we came to our decision.

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Youth curriculum program honored

By Jane Sutton-Redner

Children in Albania study the Bible. (Jon Warren/WV)

Children in Albania study the Bible. (Jon Warren/WV)

In Winter 2008, we featured the Youth Bible Curriculum (YBC) program, World Vision’s partnership with Gospel Light Worldwide that provides age-appropriate learning materials for Orthodox Christian youth in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia, Romania, Georgia, and Lebanon.

The good news: This month, Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church awarded World Vision in Romania the highest honor given to non-clergy for its work through YBC. The curriculum is now the official Sunday school material in Romania, which, like many Eastern European countries, struggled to provide spiritual education for young Christians after the fall of communism due to a dearth of learning materials. In the six countries participating in YBC, to date 300,000 books have been distributed and more than 2,500 teachers have been trained.

The not-so-good news: YBC is among several World Vision projects experiencing a funding shortfall due to the recession. Please pray that YBC can continue supporting children’s Christian education in 2010. Also pray for God’s blessing on World Vision’s work with churches around the world.

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NASCAR recap

By James Addis at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 race in Richmond, Va.

NASCAR WV carSaturday night, I watched the race from the press box. Alas, my inexperience with all things NASCAR was suddenly evident. A reporter’s worst nightmare—not being quite sure what is going on. With 50 laps to go, car #78 disappeared the track after apparently blowing a tire. Early on, it completely conked out and had to be pushed into the pits before making a comeback. Was this it—could a blown tire put car #78 out of the race? Continue reading

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Support at the speedway

James Addis reports from  NASCAR, where car #78 bears World Vision’s logo to spread awareness about global poverty.

Regan Smith

Regan Smith

Regan Smith qualified! His best lap time of 21.78 seconds was enough to secure him the 35th position on the starting grid. Naturally, the Furniture Row Racing Team would have hoped for something better, but from World Vision’s point of view, still wonderful exposure. The World Vision name will be whizzing around the track at something like 150 miles per hour.

It was also a nice recovery for Regan, who sadly failed to qualify in his last race, the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Speedway—the first time in 13 races that the part-time, single-car team from Denver, Colo., has not qualified for a main event. Continue reading

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NASCAR notes

James Addis, our editor from New Zealand, experiences a new side of U.S. culture.
James Addis immerses himself in the NASCAR scene.

James Addis immerses himself in the NASCAR scene.

Yesterday I arrived in Richmond, Va., coughing and spluttering due to a severe head cold but looking forward to something a bit different. Normally, I cover issues like AIDS, malaria, and street children for the magazine, so NASCAR is rather unusual. At this weekend’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 event, part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Furniture Row has generously agreed to wrap their car in World Vision colors—a great way to raise World Vision’s profile among NASCAR fans.  Continue reading

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