Delegate Spotlight

Delegate Spotlight | 'One Less Orphan': Jonathan's Efforts to Assist Those in Need

by Zachary Thomas

“A lot of my passion comes from frustration.” explains Jonathan Bruce, a senior at the University of the Pacific.

Jonathan has served with the Afghan Orphan Relief for almost a year now and already it has had a significant impact on his view of the world around him. Afghan Orphan Relief is an organization committed to improving the lives of orphans in Afghanistan that will not only eradicate poverty amongst orphans but also amongst the people of Afghanistan through the implementation of sustainable projects, such as collecting school supplies in America and sending them over to Afghanistan to be distributed. “I, with the help of some peers, set meetings with philanthropy organizations all around California. I speak at these events giving and creating presentations to communicate the importance of donating to these orphans. To date merely in the last year AOR has been able to reach out to 434 orphans in the provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Kunar. Our members fly directly to these orphanages to ensure all funds go directly to their caregivers. This process has been essential in providing them with books, winter clothing, food, and other essential items.”

Jonathan submitted a campaign that he hopes to launch at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus called ‘One Less Orphan”. His inspiration for this campaign comes from some very startling statistics about children in Afghanistan. “There are an estimated  2 million orphans in Afghanistan, with only 12% of them finding refuge in orphanages. Overall, Afghanistan's infant mortality rate is alarmingly high at 163 per 1,000 live births (UNICEF). Measles is a major cause of child death. In late 2001, Afghanistan had the second highest measles mortality rate in the world. Women and children have suffered the horrors of kidnapping, child trafficking, organ harvesting, sexual abuses and child labor in addition to appalling humiliation and degradation. Afghanistan has the fourth highest level of malnutrition in the world. Diarrhea and acute respiratory infections account for around 41% of all child deaths, and one in three Afghan children suffer from iodine deficiency. A shortage of safe drinking water affects the already weak health status of many children. 60% of homes don’t have safe drinking water, and in total, only 12% of the population of Afghanistan has access to safe drinking water. As a result, of the nearly three decades of war in Afghanistan, there are more than two million children who are orphans and over 600,000 who sleep on the streets. Over 400,000 children are maimed from landmines and over One Million children suffer from PTSD. 50% of the Afghan population is less than 18 years of age with almost no education.” This campaign aims to establish a network between Universities here in the United States and different regions across Afghanistan with one goal in mind: effective and constructive communication. “The point is to get as many Universities in contact with the citizens [of Afghanistan]. We never ask them how [the projects] work [once they have been instituted].” His ultimate goal is to ensure that when organizations, including his own, help others, they fill in the gap regarding follow up. For them, it is necessary that they get feedback from the citizens of Afghanistan on what is working, what is still needed, and what needs to be changed.

Jonathan is very excited for the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. He looks forward to “being educated on things that matter and issues that matter to other students. Most are coming with a passion, a fire, towards an issue. I always like speaking and discussing with others.”

Jonathan is just one of the many amazing delegates already registered for the 7th annual Millennium Campus Conference the United Nations from August 11-15th where she, along with others from around the world, will come together to think, connect, and act to challenge the paradigms that perpetuate inequality and to redefine the world around us. Apply at mcc15.org/delegateapplication to join the movement and promote social change!