I am writing this on a flight home to LA from New York. I went to the very cold east coast for a Save the Children board meeting and Gala. I participated in three days of nonstop discussions (and celebration) of the humanitarian efforts of this amazing NGO (non governmental organization) for which I have had the honor of serving as a trustee. I did not read any medical journals…so I thought I would share some of the tough challenges that we discussed that threaten children in our current crisis filled world. To do so, I am quoting some of the facts presented to our board at dinner Tuesday night…
2013 was the first time since World War II when more than 50 million people were displaced from their homes as a result of war and violence. Over 15 million refugees fled to developing countries which themselves have significant needs. The drivers of this humanitarian crises are likely to continue and include climate change, population growth with a “youth budge”, urbanization, migration, political instability, religious fundamentalism, intolerance and hate. (The last are my words.) 200 million people have been affected by natural disasters and there are 100 violent conflicts a year. The most vulnerable are children. Child protection, their health, nutrition and education needs are among the most underfunded components of responses by the international community.
Here is where I can proudly report on what Save the Children is doing: During 2014 Save the Children has responded to 90 humanitarian emergencies in 53 countries reaching 8 million people. These include building Ebola treatment centers in West Africa, community education and outreach programs to educate on risk avoidance, diagnosis facilities and programs to care for children orphaned by Ebola. Save the Children’s global outreach concentrates on child protection, health, nutrition and education in countries that few of us will ever visit and may have trouble finding on a map…South Sudan, CAR, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia, Mozambique (I have reported on schools The LA Associates of Save the Children have built in the last two countries), Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Philippines, Pakistan, and India as well as Laos, Myanmar, DRC and Nicaragua (to name a few).
Yes, these are statistics and names of far off countries, and as we read them they may not register on an emotional level. But the story of one child with a name who may die before the age of 5, or may never have a home or family because of conflict and disease, or if that child is a girl and has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than learning to read…when we know that child’s name we begin to care. I have had the opportunity to meet some of these children and their families … I am proud to be a small part of an organization that strives to value their future.
I hope you will decide to learn more by going to savethechildren.org.
Next week, I will resume my usual women’s health update articles.