Paul Bettings/World Vision Canada
It gave me a glimpse into awful environment that so many people, humanitarians and civilians, live through every day.
Muhammad Hamed / Reuters
Libya is a beautiful country, but my welcome to it was anything but. I had been in Tripoli less than a week and already my parents' worst nightmare was coming true. Our compound, which was home to most UN agencies and several embassies including Canada's, was under attack.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Every child deserves a quality education, but refugee children, especially girls, are the most likely to be left behind. Over half of all refugees are children. Only 50 per cent of these children are able to attend primary school; 25 per cent make it to high school; and just one per cent of these students move on to colleges and universities.
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Although they are not soldiers, humanitarians working abroad face risks like war, disease, and nature's wrath. In honour of World Humanitarian Day on August 19, we are introducing you to a few of the too-many Canadians who have given their lives in the service of others.
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The Liberals are facing calls to reopen a new peacekeeping training centre three years after the demise of Canada's former school.
A desperate Syrian mother in a refugee camp tried to give me her sick little girl on my last visit to the region's conflict zones and neighbouring countries filled with fleeing people. She wanted me to take her child back to Canada for medical care. That day, I saw misery and despair that no one should bear.
From a very young age, my parents taught my siblings and I, through instruction and example, that doing even a little can lead to a lot. But what initially felt like a pointless, mind-numbing activity became a valuable exercise in developing understanding and empathy.
I spent over a week in Jordan at the beginning of January, with the Syrian American Medical Society visiting non-profit clinics in Jordan where the Syrian refugees were populated and went into the camp to work in their Medical Centre. I did not know what to expect going into the camp, now termed the fifth largest city in Jordan.
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For every tragic incident in the world today, there are countless more women and men humanitarians -- changemakers -- making the world a better place in their own respective capacities. Light is more potent and powerful in effacing darkness; let's each of us resolve to spread more light around us, in our communities, and throughout our world.
Ebola has infected nearly 24,000 people and killed almost 10,000, mainly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. However, the impacts of Ebola extend far beyond the borders of the worst-affected countries. G7 Foreign Ministers should champion a rigorous approach to go beyond reducing transmission, to stopping the disease completely, to enabling societies to manage the consequences of the outbreak, and to preventing future outbreaks.
The United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland has recently published a unique cookbook, Recipes for Peace, Rights & Well-being, which shares the secrets of many "recipes" for its peace and humanitarian initiatives that have changed the world, combined with superb recipes from some of Geneva's most celebrated chefs.
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As I scan the latest headlines about Ebola, I think not only of the rising death numbers, but also of the children, families, and local Plan staff that I have encountered during my visits to West Africa. We can all be humanitarian actors when it comes to fighting Ebola.
I know several philanthropists who will only fund the projects that no one else will touch. Give me the most stigmatized cause, the most complex client group! What does this teach us about life? The nobility of standing in solidarity with the marginalized.
Our organization works mainly in conflict-affected and unstable settings. Of these, we have chosen three to watch in 2014. In each country, governments are unable or unwilling to care for their populations, the ability of aid actors to respond has been curtailed, and populations are left to fend for themselves.
I thought about the last few months. Fatigue, exhaustion, satisfaction, and relief. I felt happy just to have survived. It had been hard on my girlfriend Maeve and me -- but we grew stronger apart in some ways too. She was alone at home with her dog Daisy when I called from my tukul one night and asked her to marry me.
It is possible to think of Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) medical work like a scalpel, which we use during surgery. The sharp end is at the bedside with patients and families. It's the crucial end -- and nothing can replace it. But behind the blade is its attachment and then the handle from which to hold the blade. These parts are crucial too.
Part of the experience of working with Doctors Without Borders is not just work but also taking a break. The work in the project site is seven days a week most of the time, but then after two months or so, we get a break in the capital city. I can't quite say my RnR was what I had intended.
The desperate man asked me in French, "Doctor, what about my brother?" Somewhere, in one of the rooms full of bloodied bodies lying on the ground, was this man's brother. A mass casualty incident had hit Am Timan hospital in chad. This man was looking for his brother amongst the 50 or so victims.
The majority of our patients live. But sometimes they do not. Child survival in Chad is a day-to-day struggle. Many survive thanks to low-cost interventions like vaccination, proper nutrition, antibiotics, rehydration, blood transfusion and oxygen. Sadly, these interventions are available to too few.
I'm settled into the project now in Amtiman in southeastern Chad. Our project here serves a population who have few choices regarding where and when they can seek medical care. Jonas was brought to my attention by the community outreach workers. He was 30 days old and his mother said he was not breastfeeding and was convulsing.