Pregnancy during war, natural disaster, or economic collapse isn't simply a time of joy and wonder; it's often tainted with anxiety and fear. For these women, it's more like nine months of holding the thin red line of courage against almost impossible odds. The strength and resilience needed to do this is astounding.
We all have stories of moms who've gone to extraordinary lengths to provide for and protect their children. But we all need a little help sometimes, and often, the most courageous thing many of us can do is ask for it. This Mother's Day, World Vision is asking you to consider helping a mother in need. She might be your next-door-neighbor, or a woman on the other side of the world.
Mother's Day is this Sunday. In amongst all the details of working, living, and being a mother myself, I'm determined to take time to think about what my mother would really like this year. Thinking about my mother's interests -- and about the memories we share together -- has given me a lot of inspiration for this Mother's Day.
In many parts of the world, diarrhea is not about embarrassing conversations between adults, or toddlers licking electrolyte popsicles while watching Max and Ruby on the couch. And it's most definitely no joke. An estimated 30,000 children around the world die each year from diarrhea, a condition which most Canadians see as an inconvenience.
At these one-year-later moments, headlines inevitably reappear. There's no denying the challenges are real, and there's no doubt we can expect more. But let's not allow ourselves to become cynical. As donors, we need to be patient, flexible and think long-term. To do the most good in the long run, Canadian support needs to allow for the ups and downs of an unpredictable recovery in Nepal.
Children under five are more at risk -- they account for 70 per cent of all malaria deaths. More than 300,000 children died last year from an illness that's preventable with things as simple as clean water sources. Let's make sure that kids don't have to fight off a disease that racks their bodies with fever, pain and nausea. Let's stop malaria before it bites.
Many of the children our teams meet want little more than to just 'be kids' for a few hours. Our staff provide activities, like the chance to draw or play with toys, or an opportunity to join a game or some singing. For the children who are ready and interested, we offer help in keeping up with schoolwork.
Like many Canadians, I have struggled to understand the importance of something as seemingly mundane as water. With our Great Lakes and mighty rivers, we're used to seeing water everywhere. I began appreciating how critical water is to survival when visiting the Kurdish region of northern Iraq with World Vision last month.
On the mountainside, listening to the World Vision Bolivia staff who guided us explain just how many kids get sick, and even die from the same disease I had suffered from, I wanted to cry. Children all over Bolivia battle this kind of illness every day. Little kids, especially those under five years old, undernourished already and with developing immune systems, are struggling to stay alive just because of the basic human need for water. Waterborne illness is easy to catch, as I discovered. But for children all over Bolivia, it is very difficult to get rid of.
This week marks five years since the start of the Syrian conflict. The war has inflicted a devastating toll on millions of desperate Syrian families, resulting in a humanitarian crisis that has rippled throughout the region. More than 4.3 million Syrian refugees are now trying to piece their lives back together in neighbouring countries. That's where the No Lost Generation project comes in. It's a global initiative, supported by donor countries and non-governmental organizations, to help save the future of displaced Syrian children. The goal is to provide safe education and psycho-social support which includes protecting children from exploitation, abuse and violence.
"Bravo, sister. I honour you. I would do anything to take away some of the pain that you've experienced. And I know that I'll never understand what you carry around inside. But your children -- they're so beautiful. And you've used all of your resources -- your love, your patience, and your creativity -- to keep them alive and healthy. You've taught them when there was no school and comforted them when there was nothing comforting to say. You've made 'home' in camps, tents, and on the side of the road. I will do whatever I can, through my donations, through my prayers and through my writing, to help carry your children to safety and happiness."
Any meaningful and inclusive peace process entails the inclusion of young people. That's why World Vision Canada is urging the Government of Canada to focus on ensuring their voices are heard. Let's involve them in the discussion. By doing so, I'm convinced we will arrive at sustainable solutions we could never have imagined without them.
Millions of children in countries such as Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan live and die never having officially existed. Their communities are riddled with conflict, rocked with instability or dispirited by isolation. Their governments are either unwilling or unable to provide even basic health care.