Christian relief and development agency turns virtual gifts to reality.

By December 20, 2006

International (MNN)–Of the 1.3 billion people worldwide living in extreme poverty, 70 percent are women. These millions struggle to eke out a living where they can protect themselves and feed and care for their families.

For many, breaking the cycle is as simple as access to resources. Sometimes survival in a brutal environment is as simple as a chicken or seeds, but getting the tools is nearly impossible.

That’s why World Vision just launched its interactive 3D Alternative Gift Catalog, which allows donors to buy surprising gifts like goats, cows, chickens and pigs to be sent to the developing world.

The effort connects the virtual reality with real life poverty in the undeveloped nations. “Visitors” can lay down on a hospital bed needed to equip a new maternity ward in northeast Uganda, milk a cow destined for Kenya, or pat a sheep needed by a community in Senegal.

Clicking on these items, or the sign boards next to the gifts in the village, will display more information and take the inhabitant through to World Vision’s Alternative Gift Catalog website.

WVI partnered with Second Life in a developing global village to increase potential participants and raise awareness of the plight facing so many and the help and hope a tool can bring.

The Alternative Gift Catalog allows donors to send tools in support of some of World Vision’s long-term development programs. That, in turn, allows the team members to act as the hands and feet of Christ with those they serve.

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