Children in Crisis
This article is cross-posted on TheCommunity.com. Click here to add your name to a letter to the UN Secretary General and
As a father, I want my children to be safe from harm, and I want that very same thing for their children. We owe it to them -- and we owe it to our families.
What is the single most important thing every child needs? Simply put, it's a chance at life beyond the womb.
Of the 3 million babies the world loses every year in their first month of life, 99 percent are in the developing world, meaning this is simply an issue of poverty and lack of resources. The weeks following birth are an incredibly vulnerable time, but astoundingly 2 million newborns could be saved with a few low-cost measures.
Hospitality offers so much hope for youth in emerging economies like South Africa.
They were so young, and yet looked so sad. I looked into the faces of these children... hundreds of them... all gathered together at a UNICEF program in Malawi, one of the countries hardest hit by AIDS.
The image of Masooma -- a bright, young girl who understood that without an education she wouldn't have the chance to live a full and productive life -- remains most deeply etched in my mind and heart. She taught me that powerful advocates can come in very small packages.
I've been on the front lines of tending to and advocating for the needs of children for more than 30 years. In countless countries around the world, I've held newborns struggling to make it through the day. I've looked into the innocent eyes of toddlers abandoned by the people who should have loved them most.
When we think of what a child needs, we think of food, water, shelter and of course, love. Access to education, health care, safety and freedom are also crucial. However, after meeting countless children around the world when I travel, I've come to realize there is one thing a child needs the most: hope.
There is a child right now trying to figure how he will eat and how he will feed his younger siblings. Right now, there is a child trying to figure out how to hide herself and her siblings in the bush away from those who will do them harm.