Global Heroes At Home
Atrocities occur daily across the globe, and for the three San Diego women featured here, sitting idly by was not an option. Instead, each traveled thousands of miles to remote locations to make a difference.
In 2001, San Marcos resident Marilee Pierce-Dunker first stepped out of her comfort zone as a stay-at-home housewife and grandmother to become a child advocate and spokesperson for World Vision, the international Christian relief and development organization that her father, Bob Pierce, founded in 1950.
Pierce-Dunker has visited some 20 countries in Africa and Asia to meet people living in devastating poverty. South Africa became her primary focus because of the AIDS pandemic and her encounter with a seven-year-old head of household carrying a baby on her back with a three-year-old clinging to her hand.
“You don’t have to be rich, young, or famous to change the world,” Pierce-Dunker says. “Just be willing to do the simple things God gives you the opportunity to do like sponsoring a child for $35 a month or getting involved with a volunteer program like Women of Vision.” (She serves as the organization’s senior advisor.)
Last summer Nicole Pack, a North Park teacher, journeyed with two colleagues to the Gulu District of northern Uganda to set up technology resource centers. They brought 15 donated laptops and completed three workshops on computing for local students and teachers. She chose that region because the war there had significantly impacted its children.
“It’s mind-boggling to learn about these things that sound so distant and incomprehensible, but are happening at the time,” Pack says. “[It] made me realize just how lucky we are to have things we take for granted, such as free public education and the peace of mind to know that we can arrive at school safely each day.”
Michaela Moryskova of Carlsbad, owner/designer of Skova, began working with the Hogar Montiel Santana Rio Oro orphanage for sexually and physically abused girls in San Jose, Costa Rica three years ago. She brings clothing and money for food and teaches them to make jewelry. In 2009, she set up a Girls of Costa Rica charity event and raised $3,000 toward a new bathroom. An electric fence was also installed around the property to protect the girls from a “peeping Tom.”
“I want to use my company to create awareness about being giving,” Moryskova says. “I am devoted and driven by love; it will in the end conquer all.” JILLIAN RISBERG