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The World As One: The Work of Compassion Beyond Borders

November 3, 2009, 12:00 am
By Interns
Index-322By Tiana Finney, SFR intern

Compassion Beyond Borders open house
plus “Transforming the Lives of Girls,” a presentation by Lawrence Tharp


2-4 pm
Sunday, Nov. 8


Free


Santa Fe Women's Club
1616 Old Pecos Trail
466-4222


For girls and women in developing countries, getting an education can seem like a herculean task. Poverty, family situations, and societal discrimination are daily obstacles. Fortunately, Compassion Beyond Borders—a Santa Fe-based organization that funds education projects in East Africa, Latin America and South Asia—provides a helping hand. By spreading knowledge and fostering learning, Compassion Beyond Borders helps those that are most in need, such as orphans, refugees, minority populations, the handicapped, those deemed “untouchable,” and abused women and girls.

On Sunday, Lawrence Tharp, the Executive Director of Compassion Beyond Borders, presents photographs and stories from the organization's projects in Afghanistan, Mexico and Kenya. Tharp visits the projects to ensure they are running properly. Each country has a specific challenge to overcome. “What stands out in Afghanistan is only 30 percent of the girls are in school,” Tharp says. “They understand that simply learning to read and write is an incredible privilege.”

In Kenya, the program focuses on AIDS orphans who have not only lost their parents, but may be separated from siblings and living with another impoverished relative. “Talk about broken homes. This is the ultimate in broken homes,” Tharp says.

Mexico has been exposed to globalization and the effects of modernity, but is no less needy for it. Compassion Beyond Borders' projects in Mexico center around displaced people who live in Juarez garbage dumps. “They have access to American television, they understand American life and they can see the difference between their garbage dump life and what they see on television,” Tharp says. “There's a gigantic difference, so they feel deprived. There's such a sense of injustice. They want to get out of it. Education's the way to do it.”

Before retiring and becoming the volunteer Executive Director of Compassion Beyond Borders, Lawrence Tharp had a variety of experiences that led him to this line of work. He grew up in Michigan and came to New Mexico 23 years ago to teach economics and world religions at the United World College. He is a graduate of West Point and holds a PhD in economics from Columbia University. Being a nuclear weapons officer in the Air Force and a member of the diplomatic corps of the Foreign Service allowed Tharp to travel. “Because I've lived in India, Guatemala and Vietnam, I've seen poverty and I've been deeply moved and troubled by it,” he says.

Compasssion Beyond Borders is a grassroots, all-volunteer nonprofit. “Needless to say, all of us in this organization are very dedicated to what we're doing,” Tharp says.

Compassion Beyond Borders open house
plus “Transforming the Lives of Girls,” a presentation by Lawrence Tharp


2-4 pm
Sunday, Nov. 8


Free


Santa Fe Women's Club
1616 Old Pecos Trail
466-4222

 

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