Millions Challenged to Stand with Poor in 2010

The head of a worldwide Christian movement to end poverty is urging everyone to play their part this year.

Joel Edwards, director of Micah Challenge International, said millions of people around the world were starting off the new year without a job or with no other choice than to work in poor conditions.

"I am starting the year with a job. Millions around the world are not. They etch out a living and are forced to exist on other people's generosity. And many others who can work do so only by sacrificing their human rights and working for endless days for unjust wages. 2010 is not just another year for business as usual," he said.

There are "ample opportunities" for people to contribute to the work already being done worldwide to take people out of extreme poverty, the ministry leader said.

This year, Micah Challenge is seeking to mobilize 100 million Christians in praying a global prayer to end poverty. It wants 10 million people to make a promise to stand with the poor on October 10 and to impact 1,000 political leaders through action by the end of the year.

The campaign marks 10 years since world leaders set the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme global poverty by 2015.

In a campaign video, Edwards said Christians should support the MDGs because they reflect biblical truth and align with God's heart.

"We should be eager to cry out on behalf of the poor," he said. "In 2010 we want to remember our promise to the billion people who go hungry every day and remind politicians that together we can actually change people's lives."

Micah Challenge wants to gather 10 million handprints for the "Big Handover" to politicians in 20 countries later in the year. The handprints will act as a symbol of the Micah Challenge promise to remember the poor and a reminder to politicians that there are only five years left to fulfill their promise.

World leaders are to meet in September for a U.N. summit to review progress on the MDGs.

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