Giving it All is a series of feature articles on the generosity of humans, the power they possess, and the gifts they give to the world.
There are some people who look at the world and say, ‘What’s the use? The world is too big for one person to make a difference so why should I even try?’ And then there are those people, shining like beacons in the dark, who look at the world and say, ‘Why not.”
Hayden Payne, a 30-year-old citizen of Australia, adds his own bit of wisdom to that thought, “To some ignorance is bliss. For (others) the greatest burden is life in harm’s way.” He doesn’t hesitate to ask, “Where do you draw the line?”
Payne isn’t a member of Hollywood’s elite nor a wealthy philanthropist. He’s a family man, a small business owner, and a musician. He gets up every day and works 9-5 to provide for his wife and young son. But there’s something else he is — Hayden Payne is an unsung hero; he’s a beacon in the dark.
In a world that makes the “Me Decade” of the 1970s look like a cake walk, there are individuals giving their all to make the world a better place. They work tirelessly to provide medicines for Africa’s millions of AIDS victims. They use their lone voice to educate others to the plight of innocent children left orphaned by the disease. They care, and more importantly, they strive endlessly to help others learn to care as well.
Payne has always donated a portion of his salary to various charities, and together with his wife, sponsors a child through Compassion Australia. But it wasn’t until he ventured into the cyber world of social networking, via the website MySpace.com, that he found a greater calling. “I realized that it was a whole new community of people to network with, share thoughts, music, and ideas,” he said from his Queensland business, “I soon discovered (on MySpace) Brad Pitt, Bono, the band from Winnipeg, Canada, WHY and The One Campaign to make poverty history,” all working together towards the single goal of humanitarianism. Since then, his time spent networking with real life friends has melded into networking with the new group of cyber friends, ones who share his passion and determination to care for those who aren’t able to care for themselves.
“It all started when I saw a baby girl in a dumpster on the streets of India,” he says. Although the sight Payne saw was on a video at a church service, it was an image that has left him haunted, especially now that he has a child of his own. “I wake up every morning of every day with this weight on my heart that just never seems to leave. I ask myself every day, ‘What can I do to make a difference?'”
The difference Hayden Payne make encircles the globe. Through his growing network of 450+ MySpace friends, he’s spreading the word and introducing a new audience to charity organizations and global situations they might otherwise never know about. “History has told us again and again (that) one person can make a difference. From Jesus Christ to Michelangelo, from Adolph Hitler to Nelson Mandela, one man can change the world. You can do it with the greatest intentions or it can be your greatest mistake. I say if you know what it is that you’re supposed to do, start today. Start writing those plans. People will come. Just start with the decision and say, ‘Yes, I will go.'”
Payne doesn’t just talk the talk. He’s written his plan and is about to embark on it. “I’m closing my shop.” he says, and using his musical gifts, he and fellow musicians are preparing to record an album which they plan to use to fund a journey to the West African Sahara country of Burkina Faso, the world’s poorest nation with a per capita income of a mere $424.*
The approximate size of Colorado, Burkina Faso is not only faced with burdening poverty, it is a country plagued with child labor, female genital mutilation, child trafficking, and even the social exclusion of accused sorcerers. “The greatest satisfaction will be when I’m standing beside a massive drill that broke the ground for water. The greatest satisfaction will be seeing lives changed through medicine, education, and construction. The greatest satisfaction will be when I’m standing in front of the big fella upstairs and he pats me on the shoulder and says, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.'”
Hayden Payne knows the task is enormous but says, “I have seen many miracles. I’ve seen my wife return to me after two years of separation. I’ve seen my beautiful son born, who is the most radiant person in my life, when doctors told us we were crazy if we tried to have children. I’m just one person, and I’m just an average Joe who believes in the miracle of making poverty history.”
You can find Hayden Payne at www.myspace.com/theworldofhayden
To learn more about the Burkina Faso project, or to participate in sponsoring their efforts, please visit Metro. You can also email or write the Director of Global Care, Garry McDonald, at email@example.com
Global Care – PO Box 1122 – Robina DC – Queensland – 4226 – Australia
*Burkina Faso source: U.S. Department of State website http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2834.htm