My eight-year-old daughter pushed away the plate of eggs without even taking a bite.
“I’m not in the mood for eggs,” she whined.
She had asked for eggs five minutes earlier. Annoyed, I told her, “There are kids who would give anything for a fresh hot breakfast. Kids who are starving as we speak.”
Yep, I played that card. A) because it’s true; and B) I knew she would genuinely care.
She looked up at me with wide eyes. “Tell me about the kids. The ones who are starving this very second? How do you know them?”
I began to describe the Rohingya refugees who have been fleeing from Buddhist-majority Myanmar, the ones who have spent months stranded at sea because no country wants to take them in.
They have tried to land in Malaysia, but the country does not want to accept any more migrants, due to the fact that there are approximately 45,000 undocumented Rohingya refugees already stressing Malaysia’s resources.
Likewise, Indonesia and Thailand are turning additional refugees away, their countries are overburdened with caring for thousands of refugees, and they are asking for other countries to step up and provide assistance.
I showed my daughter pictures of men, women, and children who are suffering from dehydration, hunger, and sickness. “And all of this came AFTER they were mistreated by their government due to their beliefs.”
She and I talked about how our people, the Jewish people, have a history of being persecuted for our religious beliefs. Several generations ago, my own ancestors came to America on boats, seeking freedom from religious persecution in Russia.
My daughter crammed a huge bite of egg into her mouth and asked me question after question.
Later than evening, she disappeared into her room, shouting something about the refugees. I found her writing a letter to President Barack Obama.
“Dear Barack Obama,
I have a serious problem that I beg you to help. Refugees from Myanmar need a place to live. How would you feel if you were starving, exhausted, hungry, sick or dying? That’s how they feel. Please please please help them. I beg you!! I’ll donate money.
Annie Rose, age eight”
My daughter is donating her allowance for the next few weeks to help. She is also asking other people to help the cause. My husband told her, “For Father’s Day, I will match the money you raise, up to the first $250.”
We are making our donations to the above site, because we have confirmed it is legitimate. If you are so moved, please voice your support for the cause and consider making a donation!
Annie Rose said, “I hope Barack Obama helps! Daddy will match his donation for Father’s Day!”
Check out Carrie Goldman’s award-winning book Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear (Harper Collins, 2012). www.carriegoldmanauthor.com