Vox Humana: 2013 Year in Review, 2014 Year in Anticipation
The New Year is a time for reflection. As we head into 2014, per the Gregorian (Western) calendar, let’s do just that.
This past year saw the launch of Vox Humana, an initiative “to document our world one voice at a time.” That is, we wanted to tell the stories of ordinary people throughout the world. Every dark, light, tanned, freckled, ruddy, olive, clean, dirty, adored, hidden, what-have-you face on the earth has a story to tell, and our goal was to find just a relative few of these faces to share their unique-but-relatable stories in their raw forms.
To do this, we sent calls out for submissions. We posted ads viewed by people all across the world, and we received many dozens of dispatches from Nepal, Kenya, Italy, Canada, the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Ethiopia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Croatia, Nigeria, the Netherlands, and many other countries throughout the world. We asked people what it was like to live in their own corner of the planet, and we published their dispatches, in English, without editing them so our visitors could read our correspondents’ stories in their raw, unedited forms. For, when someone not native in English speaks or writes, there’s a flavor unique to their region that would get lost if edited out. We wanted to keep that essence in our correspondents’ dispatches—spelling and punctuation and other anomalies included. To edit these out would be, we think, to water down their voices.
OUR REGIONAL EDITORS
We also hired a couple of regional editors, one for Europe and one for Asia. We are also in the process of bringing on a regional editor for Africa and will be hiring one for the Americas soon. Our current regional editors started out as correspondents, submitting dispatches for publication on our website. We saw something in their dispatches and communications with us: a passion for their storytelling and for sharing the stories of others. So we brought them on board as editors, and they’ve been a blessing.
Vox Humana operates on a shoestring budget. In fact, the only budget it’s operated on so far has been the funds provided by its founders. In addition to our own blood, sweat, and tears (and the efforts of our editors and correspondents), we’ve poured our own money into this initiative to give it a good start in life. We’ve poured money from our jobs, and even secondary jobs, into laying the foundation for Vox Humana and cultivating its enduring success. From our own pockets we have been paying our regional editors and correspondents—not a great amount yet, but at least something fair and what we can currently afford—for their contributions. It’s been a worthwhile investment.
Our correspondents have provided wonderful dispatches that have been a pleasure to publish and, hopefully, for you to read. Our regional editors have taken on the challenge of finding those correspondents and coordinating the submission of their dispatches. It’s been a powerful alliance of passionate souls working together to accomplish something greater than ourselves—an effort intended to shrink our world into a sort of mirror, to show all of us how similar we really are with others literally half a world away in our everyday needs, wants, concerns, ideas, aspirations, and dreams. Miles and cultures may separate us, but deep down inside we’re really all the same.
WHO WE WERE IN 2013
Take Iya’s story. In 2013, super typhoon Yolanda decimated her country of the Philippines. Iya’s home was wrecked and she lost over a dozen family members. Her loss was more than most of us will ever know directly. Nonetheless, most of us can empathize in some way. Whether it’s the United States’ September 11th (2001) attack or 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the Japan tsunami of 2011, the 2004 Indonesia tsunami, or another major natural or man-made disaster of our time, most of us have suffered in some direct or indirect way that allows us to understand Iya’s pain and be inspired by her resilience. Vox Humana was so inspired, in fact, that we sent money to help Iya’s family repair their home. It was the least we could do, though we wished to do even just a little more.
Iya’s dispatch will stick with us for a long time. We will continue to keep in touch with her and will update our readers on her family’s progress from time to time. If you’d like to help Iya or others like her throughout the world, please make a contribution to Vox Humana. Absolutely zero pennies of your contribution will go back to the founders of Vox Humana (we accept no salary from Vox Humana) and 100 percent of your donation will go to supporting our correspondents, such as Iya, and our regional editors so they can share their incredible stories with you and others.
There are ample administrative costs involved with running Vox Humana; however, its founders are committed to covering those costs and want all donations to go to Vox Humana’s correspondents and editors. They are the true champions of our efforts, and they deserve the fairest of compensation for their contributions.
In addition to the donations for the direct benefit of our correspondents and editors, here are a few other goals that donations can help Vox Humana accomplish in 2014:
- Hiring of more correspondents
- Hiring of an Americas regional editor
- Completion of a video documentary about an English ship captain who saved dozens of Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam War
So, please, take a good look at the foundation we laid in 2013 and imagine where we’re taking Vox Humana in 2014. Please support us so we can share more stories from everyday people like you, from around the world.
And if you have a story to tell, let us know. Vox Humana is here to help you tell it.
Vox Humana is an initiative of the Child Wellness Fund (CWF). Much thanks goes out to CWF for the organization’s significant support and for all of the wonderful things CWF does for children and families in the U.S. and abroad. In particular, we owe a great deal to CWF Executive Director Jamey Ponte, whose energy and spirited support for Vox Humana has been invaluable to our success to date.
If you aren’t familiar with CWF, you really should get to know the organization. In addition to Vox Humana, here are a few of the excellent programs it helps make possible:
- Second Home Foundation – Works with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to find durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, beds, respiratory devices, etc.) local children and families cannot afford or pay for through other means. Also runs an annual holiday food and basic necessities drive.
- House of Friends – Provides housing in various locations throughout the world to allow travelers to stay in them and engage in service tourism projects. Locations include Kenya, where you can help with the medical, drinking water, and educational needs of the Maasai people as well as help save the elephants, rhinos, lions, and other animals at a wildlife conservancy.
- Roots and Shoots Kenya and Cincinnati – Programs operate under Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots initiative. Teaches urban children about wild flora and fauna, sustainability, and other green concepts, and gives them opportunities to experience local wildlife areas.
- TEDxCincinnati and TEDxLemek – CWF runs local versions of the world renowned TED conference. TED is an international conference where Nobel Prize winners and other leading thinkers and doers share amazing ideas on a variety of topics. CFW’s TEDx events feature local thinkers and doers from the U.S. and Africa.
Most of all, thank YOU, our readers, for your support of Vox Humana! We exist for your benefit and because of your support. We couldn’t do what we do without you.
We hope you had a spectacular 2013 and will have a blessed 2014!
David & Qristina Cummings, Founders