CHANGING THE WORLD
By Jo Rittey
Carlton North locals Hugh Evans and his mother Kirsten Albrecht are on a mission to make a difference. And we can all help.
Over seventeen years ago, Hugh was given the opportunity to travel to Manila with World Vision as a reward for being a top fund-raiser in Australia.
He met Sonny Boy and stayed with Sonny Boy’s family, sharing the night with cockroaches crawling amidst the rubbish dump that was their floor.
Hugh’s life was changed forever, and his experience ignited Global Citizen, a worldwide movement to end extreme poverty for people like Sonny Boy.
Global Citizen is headquartered in New York, with offices in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The organization was co-founded by Hugh Evans, Simon Moss, Wei Soo in 2008. Through our mix of content and events, grassroots organizing and extensive reach through our digital channels, we are building the world’s largest movement for social action. We organize massive global campaigns to amplify the actions of Global Citizens from around the world. To date, the actions by our global community along with our high level advocacy efforts and with our partners, have resulted in 130 commitments and policy announcements from leaders, including financial aid valued at over $30 billion that is set to affect the lives of 1 billion people.
All this, and yet, unbeknown to Hugh, the person that sparked his incredible efforts is still living in poverty.
Hugh gave a Ted Talk in 2016 which was seen by an aid organization in the Philippines. Remarkably they knew Sonny Boy and his family. They reached out to Hugh to let him know and Hugh and his family started planning from there. They were able to work with CNBC to capture the story for a special they were doing on the work of Global Citizen in the lead up to the Central Park Festival held by Global Citizen each summer.
Tragically, Sonny Boy’s circumstances have become even more dire. He lives in the same place with eight family members depending on him, and earns just $5 a day. Sonny Boy and his family eat discarded scraps of McDonald’s, which they re-fry. This is their ‘luxury’. It is only the biological lottery that allows Hugh to thrive while Sonny Boy endures such extreme suffering.
As a result of his reunion with Sonny Boy, Hugh and his family have established a GoFundMe. Funds raised will go towards helping Sonny Boy learn a trade and give his children the opportunity he never had: an education and hope.
Thus far, the GoFundMe has raised $9, 120 of its $10,000 goal. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help Hugh’s family, and ultimately, Sonny Boy’s, reach their goal before the New Year. Let’s do what Northsiders do best and be community.
Jo Rittey is a freelance writer who wants to live in a world where apostrophes are used correctly and smiles are genuine. When she’s not roaming the streets of the northside in search of great food, she likes getting lost in beautiful films and having wildly enthusiastic discussions with her friends.