Ten years ago at the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide I went to Rwanda with World Vision. I knew it would be a difficult trip, but I had no idea the impact that trip would have on me going forward. Now, as we near the 20th anniversary of the horrific Rwandan genocide, my heart is still broken by the meaningless killing.
It was with much sadness that I read Kristy Woudstra's article published on this site on Thursday morning. While World Vision U.S. has made changes to their policies over the past week, World Vision Canada has not. As a Christian organization, we follow the example of Jesus who reached out to everyone, especially those who were marginalized or left out.
Why do I care about the hiring practices of a Christian international humanitarian organization? Well, I worked at World Vision Canada for nearly 10 years and last week's news brought me back to one incident that still looms large: the time I tried to hire a lesbian at World Vision Canada. As a senior manager, I was hiring for an editorial position. In the final stages of the recruitment, HR informed me that the candidate had shared she was gay. She seemed ideal and I was excited to work with her. Without telling me, HR called the candidate to let her know that she didn't get the job. A senior staff manager told me he had come to the realization that if you're gay, you can't be Christian. And only Christians can work at World Vision, so we couldn't hire her.
A movement with real staying power was kick-started way back in 1971 by a Calgary teenager, Ruth Roberts. More than 40 years later, it's still going strong -- not only in Canada, but globally. This annual fundraiser to help children around the world through World Vision has become a world-wide movement: the 30 Hour Famine.
Canadians are also helping ensure children and their families don't go hungry, thirsty or sleep out in the open. A child's healing and well-being is about more than just a safe place to play during the day. We know the importance of a warm, dry place to sleep, and a pot of nourishing food bubbling on the stove or fire at day's end.
As long-awaited Syria peace talks begin this week, World Vision's Tanya Penny will be watching closely. She has been living alongside Syrian refugees in Jordan for the past two months, telling their stories with words and photographs. Here, Tanya describes the heartbreak that even the camera can't capture.
I love social media. As a recording artist it's a wonderful way to stay connected to the fans. I remember a time when I use to sit in the back of my tour bus and hand write letters back to the fans. I've always enjoyed that connection and social media for me allows the connections to be more immediate and more often.
Miguelina Martizez was so afraid of her husband that she'd gone to the country's courts 18 times to ask for a restraining order. In desperation, she even made a video and posted it on YouTube. But the justice system in the DR is slow to protect women, often tragically so. It failed the 31-year-old mother and her four young children, and her husband stabbed her more than two dozen times.
Girl Rising tells of girls facing arranged marriages, child slavery, and other injustices we only read about here in Canada. But the girls in the film all have a common ally: education. By getting an education, they're all able to change the course of their lives, breaking barriers and creating change.
On July 30, the International Day of Friendship celebrates unlikely friendships with the power to change the world. Children's empowerment is exactly the kind of thing UN leaders had in mind, when they said "yes" to the idea of an International Day of Friendship. The date places particular emphasis on involving young people as future leaders.