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From monster storms and tsunamis to civil wars and droughts, natural disasters and man-made crises impact children, their families, and economies on a huge scale around the world each year.

“In 2018, the sheer scale of humanitarian need around the world was immense and growing,” says Lawren Sinnema, a program manager for World Vision. “The news cycle is so overwhelming that many people don’t learn about the worst crises happening around the world.”

But we believe there is hope. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV), and we at World Vision believe miracles happen in people’s lives despite these seemingly impossible circumstances.

As these seven of the worst disasters of 2018 show us, children and families around the world experienced tremendous pain and suffering this past year. But there remains a glimmer of light in each of them. Hope has not been snuffed out.

“It’s overwhelming,” Lawren says. “One reaction would be to throw our hands up. But as Christians, we can’t abandon children.”

Here you can learn about seven of the worst disasters of 2018 and how World Vision is helping people affected.

Children huddle together under an umbrella in the middle of a muddy street in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Monsoon rains throughout 2018 caused an increased risk of landslides and water-related diseases such as diarrhea and cholera.
Children huddle together under an umbrella in the middle of a muddy street in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Monsoon rains throughout 2018 caused an increased risk of landslides and water-related diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Mojibur Rahman Rana)

Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh

More than 730,000 people from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh as refugees since Aug. 25, 2017, because of extreme violence in northern Rakhine state. More than half of the refugees are children, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. They joined nearly 200,000 others who fled similar violence in the past. As the refugee population swelled in 2018, monsoon rains inundated many of the camps situated among the hills of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, making for difficult, precarious, and unsanitary living conditions.

Children and their families are living in unhealthy, dangerous conditions with limited access to basic services.

It’s dire for many but not hopeless.

Aid agencies are working together to provide life-saving aid to about 1.3 million people wrapped up in the crisis, including many Bangladeshis living in host communities. Since September 2017, generous donors and World Vision staff in Bangladesh have been able to help more than 264,000 refugees with supplies like shelter kits, food packages, hygiene kits, household supplies, and nutrition services for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Between August 2017 and August 2018, we also were able to construct 1,544 latrines and 83 deep tube wells, providing access to clean water and sanitation facilities for 154,000 people.

Let’s do this together. You can help refugees in Bangladesh and other parts of the world by donating to the refugee crisis fund.


A World Vision aid worker helps distribute emergency relief supplies to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Lombok, Indonesia.
A World Vision aid worker helps distribute emergency relief supplies to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Lombok, Indonesia. (©2018 World Vision/photo by World Vision staff)

Indonesia earthquakes and tsunami

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Sept. 28, 2018, triggering a tsunami and landslides that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. More than 2,100 people are known to have died and more than 4,400 were seriously injured, according to the Indonesia disaster management agency. About 1.4 million people in Central Sulawesi were affected. With about 68,000 houses damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people became homeless or without adequate shelter.

The Central Sulawesi quake occurred less than two months after a series of earthquakes struck Indonesia’s Lombok island. The strongest of those quakes was a magnitude 6.9 temblor on Aug. 5. More than 500 people were killed, and nearly 1,500 were injured. About 220,000 people are still displaced.

As difficult as the situation is, humanitarian groups are bringing hope to survivors.

Soon after the 2018 earthquakes in both Lombok and Sulawesi, local World Vision staff, many of whom were affected by the quakes themselves, spurred into action. They distributed pre-positioned emergency supplies, including family household items, shelter kits, and hygiene supplies. A feeding center was quickly set up in World Vision’s office compound in Palu city, Central Sulawesi, to help mothers care for and feed their children. Our response is focused on child protection, educational programs for children, and providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Thousands of people have been helped with water and hygiene, food and infant feeding, household items including blankets and solar lanterns, and Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play and recover. In addition, World Vision is working to restore education opportunities by repairing and equipping schools and providing training in disaster risk reduction to prepare for the future.

You can help by providing emergency relief for children and families devastated by the Indonesia earthquakes and tsunami.


A World Vision staff member plays soccer with Syrian refugee children in the informal tented settlement where they live. Lebanon has approximately 3,000 informal refugee settlements in the country.
A World Vision staff member plays soccer with Syrian refugee children in the informal tent settlement where they live. Lebanon has approximately 3,000 informal settlements in the country. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

Syrian refugee crisis

The Syrian refugee crisis is internationally recognized as the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Half of the people affected are children. Despite a relative decrease in hostilities nationwide in 2018, the Syrian civil war caused another nearly 160,000 people to flee the country as refugees. This was largely due to the conflict in the Idlib region. As of Nov. 12, the total number of refugees now sits at more than 5.6 million, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). About 6.2 million Syrians are displaced within the country. Those two figures amount to about 55 percent of Syria’s population.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died. The war has set back the national standard of living by decades — now that healthcare facilities, schools, and water and sanitation systems have been damaged or destroyed. Right now, about 13.1 million people inside the country — almost three-quarters of the population — need humanitarian assistance.

“For humanitarian groups like World Vision, it is becoming increasing complex and dangerous to respond to conflicts around the world,” Lawren says. “In Syria, hospitals are bombed and humanitarian workers on the ground put their lives at risk every day.”

It’s a bleak picture, but aid groups and compassionate governments and donors continue to give the Syrian people reasons to hope.

Since the civil war began in 2011, World Vision has been able to help more than 2 million people with healthcare, psychosocial support to women and children, supplies for cold winter months, education programs, food aid, and clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.

You can bring help and hope to refugees from Syria and other crises around the world by donating to the refugee crisis fund.


Joseph, left, feeds his young son, Abraham, a packet of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Feb. 28, at a World Vision nutrition center in Western Equatoria state, South Sudan. Abraham saw significant improvement after weeks of treatment with this nutritious supplement. When this photo was taken, more than 700 children younger than 5 were receiving treatment for severe malnutrition.
Joseph feeds his young son, Abraham, a packet of ready-to-use therapeutic food Feb. 28, at a World Vision nutrition center in Western Equatoria state, South Sudan. Abraham saw significant improvement after weeks of treatment with this nutritious supplement. When this photo was taken, more than 700 children younger than 5 were receiving treatment for severe malnutrition. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Mark Nonkes)

East Africa hunger crisis

At least 28 million people in East Africa — more than half of them children —needed humanitarian assistance in 2018. Millions of them are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame.

One major factor in the East Africa hunger crisis is the nearly five-year war in South Sudan. The government signed a peace agreement with rebel factions in September, but the conflict has displaced 4 million people. An ongoing food crisis resulted because families have not been home to cultivate their fields due to insecurity and displacement. More than 5.7 million South Sudanese don’t have enough food to sustain themselves, and parts of the country teeter on the brink of famine.

Another factor making the regional situation more difficult:

But not all hope is lost. Between October 2017 and September 2018, World Vision staff in the region were able to reach more than 2.7 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. Interventions include life-saving food, clean water and sanitation services, medical assistance, livelihood skills training, educational programs, essential relief supplies, and child-protection activities and programs.

In protracted crises like the East Africa hunger crisis, which is in its second year, it can be easy for people to lose hope about the situation, Lawren says. “However, as often is the case, children are the worst affected in these disasters. Yet they have nothing to do with the causes of disaster. When we respond, lives are saved, communities rebuilt, children go back to school. If we don’t support children, they are at risk of propagating future cycles of conflict and poverty.”

You can help children and families struggling with drought, conflict, and hunger by donating to the East Africa hunger crisis fund. 


Malnourished children receive fortified porridge at the World Vision Child-Friendly Space in Central Kasai province, Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Malnourished children receive fortified porridge at the World Vision Child-Friendly Space in Central Kasai province, Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Ebola, hunger, and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

What was already considered one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises got worse in 2018. Since 2016, the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been struggling with a new round of violence in the once-peaceful south-central region of Kasai and the eastern regions of Tanganyika and South Kivu. Ebola briefly broke out in May in northwestern DRC. Then the deadly virus resurfaced in August in the northeast, killing 271 of 458 people infected, as of Dec. 4. The deterioration in stability through 2017 and 2018 displaced more than 2.1 million people.

The DRC currently is among the countries with the most internally displaced people, with now almost 4.5 million people displaced within the country because of violence. An additional more than 800,000 people currently live outside the country as refugees. About 7.7 million people across the country face severe food insecurity, including more than 2 million children under 5 affected by severe acute malnutrition.

There are glimmers of hope in hard-hit areas.

Since World Vision’s Kasai response began in August 2017, our staff have reached more than 535,000 people with life-saving humanitarian assistance. That includes nearly 460,000 people who received food and cash, more than 46,000 young children and vulnerable adults in 126 health centers who received treatment or prevention consults for malnutrition, more than 22,000 children who benefited from Child-Friendly Spaces, and almost 27,000 students who benefitted from classroom repairs, back-to-school kits, teacher training, and school-fee scholarships. Our response to the complex situation in the DRC will continue into 2019.

Sponsoring a child in the DRC is a personal way you can show God’s love to a child in need.


The border crossing at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge from Venezuela into Colombia teems with new arrivals. The Venezuela economic and migration crisis grew throughout 2018. Hyperinflation, political instability, and food and medicine shortages have caused 3 million people to leave Venezuela since 2015.
The border crossing at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge from Venezuela into Colombia teems with new arrivals. The Venezuela economic and migration crisis grew throughout 2018. Hyperinflation, political instability, and food and medicine shortages have caused 3 million people to leave Venezuela since 2015. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Victor Martinez)

Venezuela economic and migration crisis

The number of people leaving Venezuela amid a national economic crisis reached 3 million in 2018. As many as 3,000 people per day are crossing the border into Colombia. The exodus is driven by hyperinflation, violence, and food and medicine shortages stemming from recent years of political turmoil. More than 1 million people have settled in Colombia; more than 500,000 in Peru; and Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina are each hosting 100,000 Venezuelans or more. Brazil is also hosting about 85,000 Venezuelan refugees.

While the influx from Venezuela has caused tensions in host countries, it also has brought out their hospitable spirit. Peru, for example, has offered temporary residency permits, and its immigration service extended its Lima processing center hours to around-the-clock to accommodate the thousands of daily residency and work permit requests. They converted the lobby into a childcare space complete with books and toys donated by the officers themselves. And teachers volunteer to watch children while their parents stand in line and receive their documentation.

World Vision staff in countries throughout the Andean region began working in 2018 to address the needs of Venezuelan refugees. In Colombia, we are helping about 40,000 people with health, food, economic empowerment, and educational programming. In Ecuador, we provided hygiene kits and workshops in child protection and economic empowerment. Our staff in Peru is working to help about 56,000 Venezuelans with health, hygiene, and food services and prepaid cash cards to help them cover basic needs upon arrival in Peru. And in Brazil, our staff is working to provide Child-Friendly Spaces and help facilitate Venezuelans who are registering for documentation.


Yemen conflict and food crisis

The war in Yemen and resulting food crisis became the largest humanitarian emergency in the world in 2018. The economy collapsed and food prices soared. Now, more than 22 million people — three-quarters of the population — need humanitarian assistance.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced nearly 3 million. One million people contracted cholera or watery diarrhea in the past year because half of the population lacks regular access to safe water and basic hygiene. People in the worst-affected areas have been starving to death because of near-famine conditions. As a result, 1.8 million children are suffering from malnutrition, including 400,000 who could die from lack of nutritious food.

The volatile security situation has made it extremely difficult for humanitarian agencies to get aid into the country. While we do not currently operate in Yemen, World Vision advocacy staff continue to work with U.N. and other agencies already in Yemen to support efforts to protect and care for children wrapped up in this crisis.


Read about the worst disasters of 2017 and 2016.

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Jesse Klaasen is a big-hearted western Michigan teen who saved up his treasures for another in need thousands of miles away.

For three years, Jesse, 16, worked on a cattle farm in western Michigan and saved his paychecks — totaling $4,500 — to pay for a home for a struggling mother and her children through World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

He sacrificed himself through physical labor and resisted the temptation to spend his hard-earned money so a family he doesn’t even know could have a better life.

Jesse loves to give through the Gift Catalog, donating funds for animals and other gifts for the past five years as part of his commitment to tithing at least 10 percent of his income. Whenever his family receives the Gift Catalog in the mail, Jesse carefully studies it to determine what he wants to give.

It’s pretty straightforward: “I love Jesus, and I want to act like him and be like him; I want to help others,” Jesse says.

Whenever his family receives the Gift Catalog in the mail, Jesse carefully studies it to determine what he wants to give.
Whenever his family receives the Gift Catalog in the mail, Jesse carefully studies it to determine what he wants to give. (©2018 photo courtesy of Carrie Klaasen)

Back in winter 2015, he had set the goal to gift one of the big-ticket items in the catalog. “I was just flipping through and was like, ‘I wanna get that one,’” Jesse says.

He made a point not to tell anyone he was saving for it. Every time he got a paycheck, he would take a portion out and add it to the growing pile of money inside a hollowed-out book on his bedroom shelf. Right before his 16th birthday in January 2018, Jesse gathered his pile of bills worth $4,500, singled out one of the most expensive items — the house — and donated the money to World Vision to provide a house for someone in need.

“I was really excited,” Jesse says. “Holding that much money was just crazy. It was a stack.”

Jesse’s mom, Carrie Klaasen, says she found out he was saving for a big Gift Catalog purchase about a year before it happened — almost two years after he set out to do it.

“When he commits to something, he’s going to do it,” Carrie says. “He’s got a compassionate heart.”

Jesse acknowledged he could have used the money to buy a much nicer vehicle or phone. His noisy 2001 Chevrolet Blazer could have benefited from a new muffler. He stuck with his aging flip phone until he got a smartphone as a gift. And he says he was tempted numerous times to pull out a few $20 bills from that book on his shelf and go spend it. But his resolve to love God and love people helped him resist.

“I was just ready to do this,” he says.

Jesse, 16, worked on a cattle farm in western Michigan and saved his paychecks for three years to pay for a home for a struggling mother and her children through World Vision’s Gift Catalog.
Jesse, 16, on a cattle farm in western Michigan. (©2018 photo courtesy of Carrie Klaasen)

That heart full of compassion has always been there, Carrie says. Jesse started sponsoring two children when he was 11 — one in Honduras and one in Ethiopia. But his sense of compassion deepened after his parents brought his first sister home from Ethiopia that same year.

“I was just so excited and so happy,” he says. “They came home, and I held her on the couch. I was crying and was just so happy to have her here.”

And then he visited Ethiopia in 2015 when the family adopted his two other sisters. It opened his eyes to a different culture, to poverty, and got the then-13-year-old asking profound questions.

Seeing his siblings’ home country for the first time was overwhelming for him, Carrie remembers. She sensed something change inside Jesse.

“I remember him just taking it all in and thinking, ‘Why isn’t this me? I could be going through this, and I’m not,’” she says.

That experience is part of what motivates him. Even after he sent in his big donation, Jesse says he remains committed to the unknown family who will receive his gift. “I pray for them every day,” Jesse says. “I’ve been praying that the right family gets it — that they can just praise God for it and give him thanks for it.”

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Communities in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and much of the East Coast are preparing for Hurricane Florence as it gathers strength out in the Atlantic. The National Weather Service rates the storm a major Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 130 mph, as of Tuesday morning. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects Hurricane Florence to continue to strengthen, making it an “extremely dangerous major hurricane.” Predictions show Florence making landfall late Thursday or early Friday with potentially life-threatening high winds, storm surge, and flooding. Some forecasts anticipate 12 to 30 inches of rain as the storm slows over land.

“We do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane,” Reuters reports South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster saying at a news conference Sept. 10. Mandatory coastal evacuations are now in effect for more than 1 million people in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

FAQs: What you need to know about Hurricane Florence

Explore frequently asked questions about hurricanes and Hurricane Florence, including how you can help people affected by the storm. Are you located in Hurricane Florence’s path? Read these key tips on how to prepare and plan for evacuation.

Fast facts: Hurricane Florence

  • Began as a tropical storm Sept. 1 over the Cabo Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa
  • Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph
  • Potential landfall over North Carolina or South Carolina late Thursday or early Friday


When was the East Coast last hit by a hurricane?

If Hurricane Florence sustains its Category 4 status and hits the Carolinas as projected, it will be the strongest major hurricane to make landfall there since Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which made landfall right over the North Carolina and South Carolina border on Oct. 15, 1954. Hurricane Hazel, packing winds of 130 mph, destroyed 15,000 homes and killed 19 people in North Carolina. Since then, North and South Carolinians have weathered dozens of hurricanes of varying force and impact.


How is World Vision responding to Hurricane Florence?

World Vision is prepared to respond and has begun the process of positioning relief supplies nearby in Georgia and South Carolina in order to significantly reduce the transit time of getting those supplies into the areas that need them. These relief supplies include food, temporary shelter items (such as tents and sleeping bags), hygiene items, and flood cleanup kits. We are also identifying church partners in potentially affected areas. This allows our response teams to mobilize quickly from our domestic disaster response hub in north Texas and field site in Philippi, West Virginia, if the storm causes widespread damage.


How can I help people in Hurricane Florence’s path?

Pray: Please join us in prayer for people in Hurricane Florence’s path. Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people in the path of Hurricane Florence. Give them the assurance of Your presence and equip those who will provide relief and assistance after the storm passes.  Strengthen the minds and bodies of first responders for the days ahead.


Learn more about hurricanes — how they form and how to prepare.

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On August 19, World Humanitarian Day pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, advocates for the safety and security of these humanitarian aid workers, and rallies support for the survival, well-being, and dignity of people affected by crises around the world.

Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day we also take a moment to honor the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need.—U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres

Through our global disaster and emergency response efforts, World Vision staff reach millions of people affected by humanitarian crises each year with life-saving assistance and restorative support. This covers our work in fragile contexts, like Myanmar and Bangladesh, where an increasing number of the world’s most vulnerable children live.

Today, 1.5 billion people live in fragile contexts. These are hard places where conflict, human rights abuses, ethnic and religious strife, and extreme poverty are concentrated. Children and families who live in them can’t count on local or national institutions like schools, health systems, markets, or courts to function reliably or justly.

Improving the lives and prospects of people in fragile contexts is the key to meeting the global Sustainable Development Goals, especially that of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and leaving no one behind.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from fragility is resilience, the ability to withstand or adapt to shocks and stresses like drought, crop failure, and conflict. A community’s resilience, not only becoming more developed, is what World Vision is driving toward as we engage in these hard places. This means not only addressing poverty through economic empowerment programming but helping families and communities to shore up every form of available social capital so they can bounce back from recurring crises such as severe weather and disease outbreaks that could wipe out their financial independence.

The work World Vision’s relief and development workers perform in situations like the Myanmar refugee crisis helps make this a reality for many of the families we work with.

Elsie Gomes, a longtime World Vision staff member in Bangladesh, was deployed earlier this year to Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh to help with the Myanmar refugee crisis response. Here are her thoughts on her time working with refugees in the camps.

World Humanitarian Day- Diary of an aid worker, Elsie Gomes writes about her experience in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Elsie Gomes, a longtime World Vision staff member, talks with refugees at a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Elsie was deployed to southeast Bangladesh to help with the Myanmar refugee crisis response in early 2018. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Shabir Hussein)

Myanmar refugee crisis: An aid worker’s diary

When they asked me, “Would you be deployed for the refugee response?” I said “yes” within seconds. But as I made my way to Cox’s Bazar, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see — a family of six living under a dainty plastic sheet in a space as small as a toilet stall.

The magnitude of the crisis became more and more evident as I traveled to World Vision’s relief distribution center, where a supplementary food package distribution was about to take place.

World Vision began its emergency response here last fall, as thousands of refugees poured over the border from Myanmar fleeing violence. Now, more than 720,000 people have settled in southeast Bangladesh and need immediate food, water, shelter, and medical assistance. World Vision has assisted more than 178,000 refugees in Bangladesh since the crisis began in September 2017. We aim to help about 250,000 refugees and hosts through 2018 with food, food vouchers, income-generating activities, clean water, sanitation facilities, healthcare, and Child-Friendly Spaces.

The refugees trickled into the distribution center one by one to pick up relief supplies. Listening to the instructions, they formed a long human chain.

Mothers, many still mourning the loss of their husbands, brought their children with them. Noticing me standing on the side, out of curiosity, the children would sheepishly glance at me.

It was like watching the reflection of my own children in their faces; their innocence radiated brightly.

Initially reluctant to connect, the children warmed up to me after seeing me around the camp for an extended period.

With the children reeled in, the mothers joined, creating room for conversations.

I met one woman who had crossed the border into Bangladesh two days earlier; she had lost her husband in the violence. Other women struggled to find privacy to bathe. One by one they shared their painful ordeals.

Wrestling with my emotions, I continued to listen to their testimonies: defecating in the open with no privacy and struggling with feeling a lack of safety. Women poured out their hearts to me.

Knowing these families settled in cramped sheds, on a hill, with no trees to hold the soil together
evokes a concern within me about the rain triggering a landslide. What then?

In the midst of all the challenges, I witnessed a distribution being rolled out and observed all the aid organizations working together to provide for the immediate needs of the refugees. This brought me a sense of hope.

I left the camps and returned home with a better understanding of the needs and how we and other organizations are working to meet these needs.

But there is so much more to be done.

How can I help refugees?

Receiving humanitarian assistance is a life or death matter for most of the world’s refugees, half of whom are children.

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Hurricanes are one of nature’s most terrifying and destructive forces. What begins as small disturbances can become fierce mega storms as they gather strength and size over the ocean. The ones that make landfall over populated areas can cause tremendous destruction.

Here are the hurricane facts you need to know to better understand how they work, how you can prepare if you’re in a hurricane’s path, and how you can help people affected.

How does a hurricane form?

Here’s how a hurricane that ends up hitting the United States or the Caribbean can form: Something as simple as a child kicking up sand in Africa can cause a small disturbance in the air that turns into a dust devil. Carried by westerly winds off the desert, that harmless mini-tornado gathers mass and momentum and morphs into a turbulent eddy, a circular current of water. It then develops into a system of thunderstorms as it moves toward Africa’s west coast. As the cloud system heads off the continent and onto the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it mixes with the warm, moist tropical air. Winds increase and a tropical depression forms as it continues west. If warm ocean temperatures continue to feed the storm, it grows into a tropical storm, then a hurricane. A couple of times per year, on average, all the right factors — warm ocean, time at sea, a combination of high and low pressure driving the storm system — converge to create a major hurricane.


What are the main parts of a hurricane?

A hurricane consists of five main parts: outflow, feeder bands, eyewall, eye, and the storm surge. Outflow is the high-level clouds moving outward from the hurricane. Feeder bands are the areas of heavy rain and gusty winds fed by the warm ocean. They get more pronounced as the storm intensifies. The eyewall is the band of clouds and intense wind and rain surrounding the eye of the hurricane. Here, the air moves violently toward the eye and upward into the cloud. The eye is the relatively calm center of the storm. The storm surge is the flood of ocean water pushed inland as the hurricane approaches land.


Hurricane facts_Harvey makes landfalls over Rockport, Texas, Aug. 26, 2017.
Trees bend and waves crash on the shoreline as Hurricane Harvey makes landfall over Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 26, 2017. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency)

When is hurricane season?

Globally, September is the most active month for hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 to November 30, but it sharply peaks from late August through September. This time of year accounts for more than 97 percent of tropical activity.

The Northeast Pacific basin experiences a broader peak with activity often beginning in late May and running until early November. There is a peak in storminess in late August and early September.

The Northwest Pacific basin has tropical cyclones occurring throughout the year, although the main season is from July to November with peaks in late August and early September.

The North Indian basin has peaks of activity in May and November, although tropical cyclones are seen from April to December.

The Southwest Indian and Australian/Southeast Indian basins have similar cycles, with tropical cyclones beginning in late October and early November, reaching peak activity in mid-January and mid-February to early March and then ending in May.

Storm season in the Australian/Southwest Pacific basin begins with tropical cyclone activity in late October and early November. It peaks in late February to early March and then fades out early May.


How many hurricanes occur each year?

Between 1968 and 2017, the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts have had an average of about six hurricanes per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two of the six typically turn into major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). In 2017, the region weathered six major hurricanes.


Hurricane Matthew_Haiti_People pick through a jumble of broken houses, trees, and roads in Dupuy on the coast of Haiti’s southwest peninsula. Families are struggling to get by and restore their livelihoods. (©2016 Guy Vital-Herne/World Vision)
After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, people pick through a jumble of broken houses, trees, and roads in Dupuy on the coast of Haiti’s southwest peninsula. Families struggled to get by and restore their livelihoods. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Guy Vital-Herne)

Why are hurricanes dangerous?

A hurricane is dangerous in many ways. First, fierce winds can lift you off your feet or damage or destroy buildings, homes, trees, and other property and knock out power. If you’re not careful, you can be injured by flying debris. The winds and heavy storm clouds bring a storm surge to coastal areas and torrential rains, which can cause flooding and over-saturate the ground, leading to landslides. Rural communities are often cut off after landslides wash away roads and power infrastructure. This leaves children and people who depend on medical treatment or supplies especially vulnerable. Even after the storm passes, if your home flooded, you have to act quickly to remove damaged materials. Otherwise, dangerous mold can threaten your family’s health.


How do I prepare for a hurricane?

Here are the key steps to take and things to be aware of if a hurricane is forecast in your area.

  1. Stay informed: Sign up for emergency notifications.
  2. Plan for evacuation: Check evacuation routes and emergency shelter information, stock up on gas, choose and notify an out-of-state contact, know where you will meet loved ones if separated, and pack a “go bag” with items you’ll need if you evacuate.
  3. Pack emergency supplies: Make sure you have food, water, flashlight, clothes, medicine, protective gear, radio, hygiene items, critical documents, sentimental items, and pet necessities ready to go if necessary.
  4. Prepare your home: Protect your property from wind and flooding by covering windows and elevating your furnace, furniture, or items on the floor.
  5. Decide to stay or go: If authorities order an evacuation, go. If you are not in an area that receives an evacuation notice, consider moving to higher ground and/or staying indoors and keeping up with weather status reports.
  6. Learn more: Find out more by visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or


What’s the difference between a tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane, and major hurricane?

The difference between a tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane, and major hurricane has to do with wind speed:

  • Tropical depression: Wind speed less than 39 mph
  • Tropical storm: Wind speed between 39 mph and 73 mph
  • Hurricane: Wind speed between 74 mph and 110 mph
  • Major hurricane: Wind speed greater than 110 mph


Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, 2013. Local resident and World Vision staff survey damage
In the Philippines, a local resident and a World Vision staff member survey the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan on November 24, 2013. (©2013 Crislyn Felisilda/World Vision)

What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone?

Hurricanes form in the Atlantic and Caribbean, cyclones in the Indian Ocean, and typhoons in the Asia-Pacific region. Scientifically, they are all known as tropical cyclones.


What is a hurricane category, and what do they mean?

A hurricane category, determined by the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, lets people know how powerful the hurricane will be:

  • Category 1: Very dangerous winds between 74 and 95 mph will cause some damage and power outages for a few days are likely.
  • Category 2: Extremely dangerous winds between 96 and 110 mph will cause extensive damage and a near-total power loss that could last up to a few weeks.
  • Category 3: Devastating damage will occur from winds between 111 and 129 mph. Electricity and water will be unavailable for up to several weeks, and trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking roads.
  • Category 4: Catastrophic damage will occur from winds between 130 and 156 mph. Even well-built framed homes will lose most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Fallen trees and power poles will likely isolate residential areas, and power outages could last possibly months.
  • Category 5: Catastrophic damage will occur from winds 157 mph or higher. A high percentage of homes will be destroyed, and most areas will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.


How do tropical storms and hurricanes get their names?

Meteorologists name tropical storms and hurricanes to avoid confusion and streamline communication. Before the 1950s, they kept track of storms by the order in which they happened in a given year. That method became confusing over time and even caused occasional miscommunication when, while multiple storms were looming, a city would receive an alert about the wrong storm. The United States has been naming tropical storms and hurricanes since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization names them, adhering to a strict system that consists of a 21-letter list of male and female names on a 6-year rotation. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are left off the list. Every seventh year, the names recycle, unless the WMO decides to retire a name because it was particularly deadly or costly. Here’s the list of tropical cyclone names for the next six years.


What have been the most intense hurricanes to strike the United States?

Of the 41 storms that have caused more than $1 billion in damage to the mainland U.S. since 1900 — with five non-mainland exceptions — three storms have made landfall as category 5 hurricanes: Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Seven tropical cyclones have hit the U.S. as category 4 storms, including Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017; Charley over Florida in 2004; Iniki over Kauai in 1992; Donna over Florida and the eastern U.S. in 1960; and Hugo over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1989.


What have been the costliest hurricanes to strike the United States?

Hurricane Katrina tops the list of costliest hurricanes to hit the U.S. mainland since 1900. Adjusted for inflation, it caused about $160 billion in damage to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Causing about $125 billion in damage, Hurricane Harvey ranks as the second-costliest. Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a category 4 storm within a month of Harvey, is the third-costliest after inflicting about $90 billion in damage. Hurricane Sandy, in late 2012, cost the Northeastern U.S. about $70 billion and is fourth on the list. The fifth-costliest, Hurricane Irma, affected Florida and much of the South and caused $50 billion in damage. All three of the most intense storms to hit the U.S. in 2017 made landfall as Category 4 storms.


How does World Vision respond to hurricanes?

With decades of experience and an established global network of trained emergency staff, World Vision is responding to multiple major emergencies at any given time. That includes earthquakes, conflicts and refugee crises, floods, and hurricanes. Our approach goes beyond the immediate response reported in the news.

We maintain a system of pre-positioning sites, including several field sites in the U.S., that allows us to dispatch emergency relief supplies quickly when a hurricane or other disaster strikes. We partner with more than 40,000 churches worldwide, which can streamline delivery of supplies in hard-to-reach areas.

During and after a crisis, we provide food, water, hygiene, and other basic relief items, including clean-up supplies. We also promote personal hygiene practices to guard against deadly disease outbreaks.

Our child protection programs respond to urgent cases, such as children separated from their families, abuse, exploitation, and other forms of violence. We also respond to health, nutrition, and education needs.

Our goal is to support families not only in the short-run but also as they go through the arduous process of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. World Vision works alongside communities to help families rebuild their homes and establish permanent housing, sustainable access to clean water, food security, access to a quality education, and re-establishing livelihoods.


How can I help hurricane survivors?

You can help World Vision continue responding to disasters around the world.


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World Vision believes every child deserves the chance to reach their God-given potential. More than 1 billion people around the world have some form of disability — many of them children. Some have been affected by congenital diseases or malnutrition. Others have been disabled by war or conflict and other dangers such as infectious diseases.

In developing countries, children with disabilities are often unable to attend school, play outside, communicate, be included in the community, or get access to specialized resources and care. Negative stigma or superstition among their parents, neighbors, and community leaders cause or reinforce these barriers. Children in these situations can become isolated, lonely, and may have little hope for the future.

World Vision seeks to address these barriers by ensuring children have equal access to healthcare and educational opportunities, helping children have a voice in community affairs, and sensitizing their parents and community leaders to help eliminate stigma toward children with disabilities.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’—Matthew 25:40, NIV

For most of Tamasha’s life, she could not sit up by herself and was always lying down. Born with disabilities in her arms and legs, her life in Malawi wasn’t easy. Her mother, Emily, says it was difficult to make sure someone was always watching and caring for her.

When Tamasha turned 5, Emily tried to send her to a nearby kindergarten. However, the family was not able to accommodate Tamasha’s special needs at school all day.

So Tamasha, now 7, has never been able to attend school, and she has spent a lot of time indoors alone.

“It pained me as a mother knowing that her absence from school meant that her future was doomed,” Emily says.

In July 2017, World Vision and Wheelchairs 4 Kids provided wheelchairs to Tamasha and other children with disabilities in her area. Emily was so relieved. It changed their family’s world, Emily says.

Tamasha has since been able to enroll in school because the wheelchair allows her to sit up on her own. Emily, who works alongside her husband to cultivate maize and beans on their small farm, no longer has to carry Tamasha when she does chores or walks to get water. And best of all, Tamasha can play outside with her friends now.

“I am relieved and I sometimes shed tears of joy whenever I see my child playing with friends,” Emily says.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to seek out and care for the most vulnerable among us — people like Farhad. Start this journey by joining us in prayer for children with disabilities around the world.

Pray for children with disabilities to be included.

Children with disabilities often face discrimination, bullying, neglect, abuse, and violence. But they have God-given gifts that are often overlooked. World Vision’s work in disability inclusion spans everything we do. We envision children living with disabilities afforded the same access to healthcare, education, government services, and overall dignity as every other child in their community. We treat them with dignity and respect in our day-to-day programming, advocate for their rights, and provide disability awareness training to parents, caregivers, and local leaders to eliminate stigma.

Lord, help children with disabilities know they are loved and they matter to You and the world. Through Your Spirit, help workers train parents and community leaders to walk in humility to eliminate destructive stigma toward people with disabilities. May children with disabilities be afforded improved access to basic services, healthcare, and education.

“… Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. …” —Luke 14:13-14 (NIV)

Pray for improved access to medical care.

Globally, as many as 500,000 children are visually impaired each year due to vitamin A deficiency. And few people with disabilities in developing countries have access to rehabilitation. As many as 80 percent could have their needs met within their community. But medical treatment costs can be prohibitive or altogether inaccessible for people living in extreme poverty.

Stigma and shame among caregivers can also cause them to try and hide issues their children may be experiencing, often making their health situation worse. World Vision partners with specialized organizations like Operation Smile to provide dental, medical, and other healthcare support. Our trainers and staff listen to community members when they candidly raise concerns about families in their communities and respond as appropriate to look out for children’s well-being.

Lord, our hearts ache for children with disabilities who lack access to care or whose families who cannot afford therapy or treatment. Spur national officials and healthcare professionals to create policies and develop systems that provide quality, affordable, accessible care. Soften the hearts of parents and caregivers hardened by stigma and shame so their children can be adequately cared for.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” —Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

Pray for access to quality education.

While 91 percent of girls and boys attend elementary school globally, as few as 10 percent of children with disabilities attend school. And only about 3 in 100 people with disabilities worldwide can read and write. This lack of access to learning opportunities presents a significant barrier to the well-being and future earning potential of a child with a disability. World Vision works to build safer schools and latrines accessible to children with disabilities. We also collaborate with and empowers community-based organizations to find local ways to help vulnerable children access a quality education. We also work to build safer, more accessible schools, for example in places recovering from a major disaster.

Lord, in Your mercy, You have afforded some children with disabilities an opportunity to receive the remedial classes and other services through World Vision programs around the world. Change leaders’ hearts and laws so they will seek ways to provide learning opportunities for children with disabilities whose families can’t afford school fees or do not have access to a school nearby.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

Pray for parents and caregivers as they care for children with disabilities.

More than 80 percent of people with disabilities in developing countries live below the poverty line, according to the European Commission. Parents, siblings, and sometimes friends or extended family members are the ones committed to caring for children with disabilities. World Vision provides training to parents and caregivers to transform attitudes toward children with disabilities. This helps them improve their relationships and learn how to nurture their children emotionally and spiritually and find ways for them to participate in society.   

Lord of all, we lift up parents and caregivers of children with disabilities. Refresh them. Give them strength to press on each day. For families living in poverty, lead them to economic opportunities to provide each member with the resources to survive and thrive.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” —Matthew 5:3, 5 (NIV)

Pray for children with disabilities to experience God’s love.

Living with a disability in extreme poverty threatens to rob children and families of the full life Jesus promises us, as well as their hope for the future. God’s love restores hope and brings life to our bones. Our trainings, advocacy, and overall efforts to include children with disabilities in community life aim to make Jesus known and love people as He first loves us.

Lord, thank You for creating every child. Please equip World Vision staff, community leaders, families, and Your followers as they support children with disabilities, and encourage them. May they experience Your deep love every day.

“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” —Psalm 33:5 (NIV)

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More than half of the world’s children experience some form of violence every year. World Vision protects children and looks out
 for their well-being by ensuring communities and faith leaders 
are actively working to identify 
and support children in need; advocating for children’s rights; and providing for immediate needs, such as emergency shelter and essential care.

Here are some of the ways we provide child protection around the world.

Phone operators field crisis calls at the National Authority for Children, Government of Mongolia. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)


Children seek help
 through national hotline

World Vision Mongolia, working with the National Authority for Children and the country’s major mobile carrier, Mobicom, set up a 24/7 national hotline to report abuse of children. In addition, a national advertising campaign publicizes the phone number, especially to children. The Mongolian government set up a call center, and they soon realized they needed to help the helpers — so they offered stress management training to 108 operators who take the calls and respond to stories of abuse.


Alerting communities to thwart child sacrifice

World Vision’s Amber Alert-style program has created
 a profound partnership between leaders of all faiths,
 law enforcement, local government, child-protection committees, and traditional healers. When a child is abducted, communities are ready. Villagers are taught to intervene, and, if that doesn’t work, to sound the alarm. Seventy-three villages are equipped with drums and megaphones. Motorcycles block off exit routes, and people lay logs across pathways to stop the abductors. Faith leaders and traditional healers have also created radio programs that air messages about child sacrifice, good parenting, and taking care of one’s neighbors.


Fighting child marriage and child sex-trafficking

Poverty, lack of education, poor gender relations, and dysfunctional families make children in India vulnerable. Here, World Vision sets up community-managed Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Centers to give children safe places to learn and play. We also form MenCare groups that educate and equip men on the inherent value of women and girls. Transformed attitudes in men are crucial not only to decrease the demand for prostitution but also the supply of children to traffickers. Communities with MenCare groups are seeing reduced instances of child marriage too. In addition, World Vision’s Girl Power groups teach adolescent girls about personal safety.

A group of boys who work in automobile shops around the city of Khulna, Bangladesh, are now able to attend World Vision’s Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Cente­r. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)


Combating child labor

Nearly 1.7 million children 
ages 5 to 17 in Bangladesh 
are engaged in illegal child labor. World Vision focuses on encouraging the withdrawal of children from labor, increasing children’s access to school, improving parents’ incomes, and training older children for jobs that are legal and have decent earning potential. A key intervention is the formation of Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Centers, which provide
 children at risk of child labor
 or already engaged in labor with childhood education and help in transitioning to public primary school.

World Vision will work with more than 700 children formerly associated with various armed groups in South Sudan. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Lisi Emmanuel Alex)

South Sudan

Caring for freed 
child soldiers

Protecting children in fragile contexts like war-torn South Sudan is complicated but critical. In February 2018, armed groups released hundreds of children they had recruited to fight or work domestically to support the ongoing conflict. World Vision staff were the child soldiers’ first line of care. Now, staff and qualified social workers are walking the journey to recovery with the children and adolescents to counsel and comfort them, reunite them with their families, if possible, and reintegrate them into society with social and educational opportunities and vocational training.

Through sponsorship and a World Vision parenting class, Paulina and her husband, Gaspar, have learned valuable parenting skills, their relationship has improved, and domestic violence has stopped. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)


Reducing violence and unsafe migration

Although violence related to gangs and drugs is a prominent issue in Central America, the primary form of violence in Guatemala is within the family. Nearly one-quarter of the unaccompanied minors who migrate to the U.S. from Guatemala reported that they suffered violence from their guardians and caregivers. World Vision seeks to reduce the number of people who are victims of violence by 20 percent by 2022. To do this, we form community-based committees to create safe environments for children to live, learn, and play. We also work with faith leaders and local governments to develop migration prevention plans. We support individual children and their families through scholarships, skills training, connecting them with trustworthy community networks, and other social services.

Third-grade student Crolina, 9, plays a starring role in her school’s anti-bullying workshop skit. She is also a sponsored child. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

Dominican Republic

Eliminating bullying

Children who are abused physically and verbally at home may carry out the same behaviors at school by hitting their friends, playing violently, and acting out in the classroom. In the Dominican Republic, World Vision trains school staff in programs to eliminate violence against children, including techniques to help teachers lead anti-bullying efforts.

Volodya Nersesyan, 27, and his wife Astghik Aleyan, 27, play outside with their 4-year-old daughter, Hasmik. Part of what Volodya and Astghik have learned in World Vision’s “Caring for Equality” program is the importance of spending more time being actively engaged with their daughter. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)


Countering prenatal sex-selection trend

Child protection must begin when babies are in the womb. Because of a deeply rooted cultural preference for sons in Armenia, an estimated 1,400 girls are not born every year. For a country as small as Armenia — with a population of about 3 million and just over 40,000 babies born annually — this is a significant number. As a result, Armenia is among the top three countries with the most highly skewed sex ratios at birth. World Vision is striving to create an environment in which girls and boys are valued equally. Our work focuses on ending gender-based violence, including prenatal sex selection and intimate partner violence. In group discussions, youth and couples learn about the prevalence of prenatal sex selection and how to strengthen their family relationships. We partner with the Armenian Church and advocate with the government to adopt policies that support gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence, including prenatal sex selection. We have also launched media campaigns and trained journalists to educate the public on these issues.

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Dee Abbate remembers feeling helpless for years as she watched news reports from the civil war in Syria and the growing refugee crisis in the Middle East. The images and video footage of children affected by the violence broke her heart over and over.

“I was very affected by a photograph I saw of injured children in Syria,” says Dee, 76, an artist from Oakwood Hills, Illinois, about an hour northwest of Chicago. “It really troubled me. But I kept telling myself, ‘There’s nothing I can do about it.’”

That all changed about a year and a half ago when Dee organized a group of artist friends to paint portraits of Syrian children caught up in the refugee crisis. They call it, Painting Syria’s Children: The Refugee Portrait Project. So far, the group has been featured in seven gallery showings and generated about $12,000 in sales, which it gives directly to World Vision and a few other charities. The group started with only a few people. Now the group consists of 23 artists.

“All of a sudden, all these people were joining, and it was wonderful,” says Diane Ward, 66, Dee’s close friend who helped start the group. “It was just like a little miracle.”

Dee found inspiration to be part of the project from a woman on a televised talent show who shared her story of adopting two Syrian children. She had always wanted to help. But the voice in her head changed from apathetic to hopeful.

“It became, ‘What can I do as an artist?” she says. “That’s what I asked myself. The answer came that I could paint children.”

So Dee started searching for charities involved in the refugee crisis that would let her use their photos of Syrian children for inspiration for her paintings.

“The first one to say I could use the photos was (photographer) Jon Warren of World Vision,” Dee says. “If it wasn’t for Jon, I think I would have given up.”

Since then, the artists have painted dozens of portraits from World Vision photos and from a few other organizations, including Catholic Relief Services and Act for Peace. This endeavor has been an outlet for many of the artists, who share a desire to help others through their craft.

“I think people feel helpless. You sit there and think, ‘What can I do?’” Diane says.

But now, “They could say to themselves, ‘This is what I can do,’” Dee says. “That’s what is so wonderful about the project.”

Dee says that group members paint the photos that resonate most with them.

“You find a child whose photo speaks to you — just like when you meet people, you know them immediately. A portrait is not just the art — it’s your response to the person,” Dee says. “We feel an attachment to that child and start caring about that child. There’s spiritual qualities expressed in that face, in their eyes.”

Diane says that the empathy the group members feel drives them to continue painting.

“We just look at these children and think, ‘Oh my gosh, these kids could be our kids.’ What parent wants to see them go through this?” Diane says. “Once you see a child’s eyes, your heart just kind of melts for them. No matter what religion, nationality, whatever — your family is something you cherish. [We] want to use talents to help these kids. We pray for them while we’re painting. They feel forgotten by the rest of the world.”

The group has another exhibit scheduled for September 2018 and encourages others to use their gifts and skills to bless others.

“Everyone can find a way to help. We all were gifted with something,” Dee says. “Find a way to use our talent or career skills to make life possible for others. It’s a way to return the gift, or pass it on.”

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World Vision’s Global 6K for Water is Saturday, May 19. You signed up. (Or are thinking about it — what are you waiting for? Sign up now!) Are you ready? Can you get ready?

Maybe you’ve been too busy to get out there and pound the pavement. Maybe you’ve never participated in a walk, run, or race fundraiser before. Whatever it is, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare well for your Global 6K and have a blast as you help bring clean water to children around the world.

How to train when you don’t like training

Of course, you don’t have to be a runner to participate in the Global 6K or to bring clean water to families in need.

But if you’re up for the challenge, a few basic tips can take you a long way. All it takes to get started is that first step out your front door.

Watch this video for inspiration, then download this guide to continue feeding your soul until the Global 6K for Water May 19. If you’d like to go deeper personally or engage fellow participants in your church family, check out this pre-event devotional guide. At the end, it offers a suggested playlist for your training journey and during the event.

And to educate yourself on what your participation means to children and families around the world, spend a few minutes here.

If you’re looking to connect with other participants, find group training runs in your area.

Before running for miles — if you’re planning on running — get used to walking and getting in shape. When you’re comfortable, start jogging. From there, stick to the training plan, follow the run/walk ratios, and you’ll be ready for your 6K.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare well for the Global 6K for Water on May 6.
Pastor Thad Spring, 46, and his wife, Jerilynn Spring, 45, both of Muskegon, Michigan, run together on a path on their church grounds in January. They both ran in the Team World Vision Global 6K here in March 2016 and plan to participate again this year. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Todd McInturf)

How to fundraise when you’re scared to fundraise

Asking for money is scary. But you’re asking your friends and family to participate with you in doing something extraordinary and beyond yourself: bringing clean, safe water to communities for generations. Here are the basic steps to make it a little less scary:

  • Set an example: When people see that you donated, it shows you have skin in the game.
  • Make a list: Write a list of 20 to 50 people you will invite to give.
  • Be direct and bold: Ask people face-to-face.
  • Follow up: Sometimes folks need a simple reminder.
  • Share: Social media is a good way to share your journey and seek support. Use #6Kforwater to share your journey.
  • Don’t quit: Not everyone will give. That’s okay. Carry on, be tenacious, and don’t give up.

See the full list of basic steps, and take it further with these sample emails and photos.

Participating is better together

Even if you do all these things, your preparation and race day will be more fun and enjoyable if you partner with someone else. Find a friend, loved one, or mentor to train with, and invite them to do the Global 6K for Water with you.

And if you still need a little kick of inspiration to get you out the door, read these dynamic stories from other participants featured in our Team World Vision Hall of Awesome.

We’ll go farther together!

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As Christians, we know God creates each person with equal worth, and He calls us to help the marginalized. In communities where all people aren’t afforded the same dignity, World Vision works to help overcome discriminatory beliefs and to end harmful practices like prenatal sex selection and gender-based violence. Together, we’re helping everyone see that all are made in the image of God.

God sees His daughters as beautiful, strong, and worthy of respect. Around the world, however, many millions of women and girls are not respected. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 775 million adults without literacy skills are women. Rural women number almost 500 million farmers and landless workers, and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

In his book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns wrote, “In my opinion, the single most significant thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: Protect, educate, and nurture girls and women and provide them with equal rights and opportunities — educationally, economically, and socially.”

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.—Matthew 25:40, NIV

Mursheda Akter’s dad left the family, and her mother works far away in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and hasn’t been home to see her in three years.

The 11-year-old’s grandma, Shurju Begum, raises her, and they struggle to make ends meet. Mursheda wishes she could be in school and dreams of becoming a teacher, but until then, she works in another family’s home doing their housework.

Millions of girls around the world are in similar or worse situations. They are trafficked, exploited, and affected by harmful cultural practices, missing out on education, economic opportunities, and life-giving relationships.

Join us as we pray for women and girls everywhere that they may live the abundant life God intends for them. 

Pray for the safety of unborn and infant girls.

Girls face dangers before they are even born. In some cultures like Armenia’s, a preference for sons puts pressure on women to terminate their pregnancy if they expecting a girl. Girls who survive until birth may be neglected, abandoned, or even killed. Seen as less valuable than boys, girls are less likely to be sent to school and may be the last to receive food or medical care. Ask God to protect young girls from people who fail to see their true value.

Dear Lord, touch the lives of girls even before they are born. Let them be born healthy and whole, and let their parents love and cherish them as much as You do.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous …”  —Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)

Pray for educational opportunities for girls.

In Bangladesh, Mursheda’s home country, 93 percent of girls attend primary school. But not quite two-thirds of girls — 60 percent — continue to secondary school. In Bangladesh and dozens of other countries, World Vision helps build educational infrastructure, provides school materials for students and teachers, and empowers parents to invest in their children’s education. When she has free time, Mursheda loves jumping rope. She hopes that by attending the World Vision Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Cente­r, she will be able to learn and it will help her become a teacher.

Lord, may You fulfill many girls’ longing for wisdom and a better life. Bless them with a quality education, school supplies, and a family that supports their scholastic goals.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” —Proverbs 3:13-14 (NIV)

Pray for girls and women affected by female genital mutilation.

In Somalia, Fatih Mohamed is 1 of 200 million girls and women in 30 countries living with the results of female genital mutilation (FGM/C), also known as cutting, the traditional practice of removing part or all of a female’s genitalia. This can lead to pelvic infections, pregnancy and birth complications, and long-term emotional scars, according to UNICEF. World Vision educates and empowers girls and their communities to end FGM. Fatih says, “My daughters have not had FGM, and they will not — my experience was so bad; I am determined. When we show the problem, people will change.”

Lord God, help families that practice FGM see its damaging effects on girls and young women. Motivate families to turn away from damaging practices and protect their female children from all forms of harm, including FGM.

“So God made mankind in his own image … male and female he created them.” —Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Pray for efforts to prevent child marriage.

In Bangladesh, 1 of every 3 girls is married before age 15, often due to financial hardship or social pressure. Forced child marriage is prevalent throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Akhi Akter of Bangladesh is 15. Her mother was married at 11 and gave birth to Akhi at age 12. But Akhi is a World Vision sponsored child, which helps protect her from child marriage. Yet too many girls still live with the threat of child marriage, which often prevents them from reaching their potential.

Jesus, show Your compassion to the multitudes of girls and women who endure the damaging physical and relational effects of child marriage. Holy Spirit, help their husbands love them. Reveal alternatives to parents or change the hearts of those who consider giving up their daughters for social status or financial gain.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” —Psalm 103:13

Girl flexing arm held out and smiling.
This is what a strong and powerful girl looks like to Mursheda. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

Pray for economic opportunities for women and girls living in poverty.

Girls everywhere are vulnerable to exploitation when their families are extremely poor. World Vision is helping millions of women in poor communities around the world learn to operate small businesses, such as tailoring, mat weaving, or selling vegetables they grow. As women gain confidence in operating these businesses, they are able to positively influence family decision-making on important issues such as food choice, children’s education, healthcare, and child marriage.

Heavenly Father, You are good. You delight in us when we honor You in our work. Bring opportunities for employment or business that fulfills parents’ desire to make life better for their children. Thank You for organizations that provide small-business loans to women. Bless these ventures so their families can live healthier, more secure lives. 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” —Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

Pray for access to clean, safe drinking water.

An estimated 33 million girls work more than 21 hours per week doing household chores at home. In many cultures, this includes collecting water for drinking, bathing,  and cooking, a task they share with their moms. They must often walk hours every day to complete it, keeping them from going to school, and robbing mothers of time with their children. When wells are drilled in rural villages, women and girls no longer have to spend hours each day accessing water.

Dear Lord, as millions of women and girls continue to walk every day to collect water, please walk beside them and keep them from harm. Bless the work of organizations like World Vision that provide clean water so more women and girls can leave this task behind to lead more productive and meaningful lives.

“They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” —Isaiah 49:10 (NIV)

Pray for girls trapped in sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Worldwide, 11.9 million girls ages 5 to 17 work as domestic laborers, according to the International Labor Organization. Unsuspecting children are often forced into child labor or the sex trade. The full extent of the problem is unknown, but governments and organizations, including World Vision, have made progress in recent years to prosecute traffickers and identify and rehabilitate survivors of the crime.

Jesus, we come to You humbled by the struggles many girls face every day. Restore them to trusting relationships and self-confidence. Inspire leaders to create policies that address the causes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” —Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)

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