I write as Sen. Ben Cardin and his colleagues in Congress craft the federal government's budget for FY 2017. As they do so, I encourage Senator Cardin to protect lifesaving programs that fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, tackle hunger, and help the world's poor pull themselves out of poverty for all. This can be accomplished for less than 1 percent of the federal budget and it would mean a lot to me and my fellow concerned students if you will take this into consideration.

I am fortunate, like most of us in Ellicott City, that I do not have to be concerned about receiving proper nutrition or education. However, millions of girls around the world are not as fortunate to receive these things. The facts show extreme poverty has already been cut in half and can be virtually eliminated by 2030. We've come too far in the fight against extreme poverty to turn back now.

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Senator Cardin, please protect programs such as the global fund to ensure a bright and healthy future for all as the budget process moves forward.

Aasha Subramanian, Ellicott City

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