'The Gift of 40:' Make That Difficult Birthday Count

Class in Lesotho
Class in Lesotho

The Gift of 40... a wonderful way to turn this sometimes difficult birthday into a rich opportunity. I heard about the project from Columbia Journalism School professor Sree Sreenivasan. Sree and some friends launched it last year with this statement:

"Each year, millions of people around the world celebrate their 40th birthday with a party and a smile. But for far too many others, in places like Lesotho in southern Africa, the average life expectancy does not reach or exceed 40. That's why a small group of people born in 1970 created the Gift of 40 campaign. Gift of 40 invites you to celebrate this milestone by providing support to the Boston-based Partners In Health (PIH) Lesotho Project, which works with poor communities in Lesotho to combat disease and poverty."

Donate here or go to Partners in Health to start your own project.

Outreach Coordinator Christine Hamann says Partners in Health has 2,764 supporters who have started their own fundraising pages on the PIH website. Hamann says Gift of 40 is unique because "this group decided to collectively support our work in Lesotho by creating a network of fundraising pages, and inviting others to do the same."

Sree and his friends are optimistic:

"It is our hope and aim that, in the coming years, the people of Lesotho will be living healthier, longer lives, and we can focus our attention there on the Gift of 50."

This program aired on February 21, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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