Last week marks two years since the current conflict in Yemen began, a war that has destroyed the economic and social fabric of the country. According to the government, the GDP shrunk nearly 35 per cent when fighting erupted. Infrastructure collapsed. Public institutions continue to struggle to provide even basic services.
The shelter in Aleppo seems plucked out of a fairy tale. Mohammad and his siblings stepped through the welcoming green door and walked into a safe place for the first time in months. They were surrounded by a tiny garden filled with Jasmine flowers and olive trees and a big house filled with children laughing and playing.
Right now, there are 4.3 million children in urgent need of humanitarian assistance across South Sudan. Last month's formal declaration of famine only officialized a catastrophe that has been unfolding for months.
Amidst the shrubbery and tool displays at this year's Canada Blooms event, a landscaped pathway will tell the story of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who died fleeing his residential school in 1966.
"I was certain that I was going to die," said 25-year-old Ifrah in Somaliland, of her battle with tuberculosis. It's not something we should be hearing in 2017. An illness old enough to have been known as 'consumption' or 'The White Plague' should have its place in medical history -- not claiming 1.8 million lives a year.
It's now more than a month since famine was declared in parts of South Sudan. For children in the world's youngest country, the worsening food crisis comes at a time when they already face countless challenges on a daily basis. The scale of the crisis engulfing the country is staggering.
This year, among other things, we will need to take stock of Canada's Minister of International Development's proclamation that the government will have a feminist approach to international assistance.
Eighty years ago, the Spanish Civil War resulted in a vast displacement and large number of unaccompanied child refugees. It was from the ashes of that crisis that Plan International was created. I am sure John Langdon-Davies, the founder of Plan International, would be heartbroken to know how urgently, in so many parts of the world, our work is still needed.
In Tanga, as in much of East Africa, there is a strict culture of silence surrounding menstruation. It is not spoken about. For girls with disabilities, the taboo compounds their issues, because they are not always capable of understanding exactly what menstruation is, or able to manage it independently.
Barriers and containment will not stop people from fleeing, and deportations to unsafe countries merely returns victimized people to unending uncertainty, oppression and abuse. Let us ensure that our treatment of vulnerable people trapped in the desperation of the global migration system remains dignified.
Allowing the commercial seal slaughter to proceed while helpless pups are still nursing from their mothers is absolutely unacceptable. Harp seals are already facing threats from climate change and commercial exploitation; we should not be removing one of the few remaining protections left for this species.
The 2017 federal budget pledges an incredible $50 million over two years to teach young Canadians to code. This is a huge boost to support Canadians in developing the skills and creativity needed to compete and lead in the global innovation race.