We do not Choose Sides, we Choose Children
By Cindy Augustine, Global Chief Talent Officer
On this, FCB’s annual Global Day of Giving, I wanted to share my passion about helping children, which I do through my work with Save the Children. I became a “Save” mom when I became pregnant with my daughter Jenn more than 25 years ago. Something in that moment of bringing a child into the world made me feel the need to help a child suffering in the world. That began a lifelong partnership and commitment to the work of Save the Children. I was fortunate to be named to the organization’s board of trustees in January of 2014.
Save the Children helps the world’s most vulnerable children, those caught in the cross fire of mankind’s conflicts, natural disasters and disease. No matter where the children are, no matter how complex the situation, no matter how dangerous the work, Save is there.
The newest of the crises affecting children is obviously the Ebola crisis. We estimate that nearly 3,700 children have been orphaned by Ebola, leaving them desperately alone, afraid and often shunned by community members who are concerned that the children themselves may be infected. Where others are too afraid to even enter these communities to help, Save the Children is working with Ebola orphans and other vulnerable children to provide food, water and hygiene products to sustain these kids during quarantine. Save also works tirelessly to find and reunite children with extended family members or other caregivers, and, when possible, to provide psychosocial support for children who have been through the trauma of losing a parent so suddenly in a country gripped by fear.
To learn more, please read this post from Save the Children’s Executive Director Carolyn Miles about her work and her moving story about a young girl, Martheline, who was left to care for her three younger siblings after losing her mother to Ebola.
This is just one example of Save’s work. Save also helps children caught in the middle of man-made conflicts. At Save, we do not choose sides, we choose children, even in the most challenging, complex and controversial circumstances. So, Save is helping children:
- Caught in the mountains of Iraq – where one of the most rapid displacements of people ever seen is taking place. More than a million Iraqi men, women and children have fled for their lives, only to be trapped in the nearby mountains without adequate shelter or supplies.
- In Syria’s Refugee Camps – since the beginning of the conflict, children have been the forgotten victims of Syria's horrific war. Today, more than 5 million children are at risk of becoming a “lost generation.”
- At the U.S. border – numbers of children escaping violence in their Central American communities are seeking refuge in the United States, overwhelming the capacity of a Border Patrol system struggling to meet the basic needs and ensure the due process rights of so many vulnerable children.
- In South Sudan – the scene of Africa’s longest running civil war, South Sudan’s humanitarian needs escalated to alarming levels, with some 4.9 million people in need of assistance throughout the region
- In both Gaza and Israel – the intense conflict between Gaza and Israel has had a devastating impact for children on both sides of the border, who have seen and experienced horrors that no child, anywhere, ever should.
Save’s work in the United States, while tackling emergencies when they arise (the tornado-damaged areas of Oklahoma, victims of Hurricane Sandy), also seeks to advance literacy, promote health and fight poverty. As many as one in four children live in poverty in the U.S.
During our Global Day of Giving, I know many of us will become involved in events of deep meaning to each and every one of us. I just wanted to share one organization that means so much to me.