Lauren Jones

It is far too easy to forget how privileged we are living in Australia. We live in a land of plenty and expect life to be good. We rarely worry if we will have a roof over our head or enough to eat. Most of us will never have to make a choice between food and education for our children or life saving medication. But for 1.4 billion people these are some of the realities of life… every day, day in, day out.

Last year, while traveling in India, I was fortunate enough to meet a diverse group of people who shared their lives with me. As an active participator in public discussion on world poverty I had expected to hear sad, but, rather predictable tales. What I had not anticipated was the people themselves, the level of human connection, of touching and feeling that I experienced. I listened as the locals told me of sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers dying of “sickness”. I sat with them as they prepared modest family meals and still insisted on giving the largest serving to me, a stranger. Before making the trip I had succumbed to a common mistake, I had attempted to sum these people up as mere statistics and forgotten that each number is a human life.

Since returning from India I have become a volunteer with the Oaktree Foundation and written articles for university publications on the issues Australia faces in achieving the M.D.G’s. I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism at RMIT University and am covering the UN Conference in Melbourne because it is a once in a lifetime event on an issue I am deeply passionate about. But fundamentally I write because I believe that educating the privileged minority in the world on the real issues around poverty is the only way to create lasting change and make a real difference.