WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT BABIES ACROSS THE WORLD?
By: Director of Operations, Heidi Cortez
In global humanitarian work, there is a question we are often asked- Why should I care about what happens to babies and toddlers I will never meet that live in a country I will never visit? Or why should I help babies and toddlers in other countries when there is a need here in the US? Here are some reasons why we do the work that we do:
A Commitment to a Bigger Backyard
One of my friends spent several months in South Sudan working in education. People would ask her why she didn’t work in the US or “in her own back yard.” Her response was, “I just have a bigger back yard than you.”
Before we were a citizen of any country, we are a human. Our humanity is what connects us. It transcends all borders and divisions. While our experiences, culture, and language may differ, we have the same emotions, desires, and fears. Our humanity unites us. I have personally sat mother to mother with a lady in Cambodia who was suffering from Aids. We both cried because she expressed her desire to “just be a good mom,” an ache I share daily for my son.
When we expand our backyard, we expand. We see the humanity in everyone and honor it. We expand our personal borders to caring about people we may never meet and countries we will never visit. We are better global citizens who have a deep care for others around the world. It fosters a love inside of us that is for everyone.
A Commitment to Serving
One argument for not helping those in other countries is that you do not know what that country needs unless you are from that country. You do not understand their culture, systems, language, and problems- so how can you help? For this, we wholeheartedly agree! We don’t know any of these things, so we work hand in hand with people on the ground who do. We tap into the local knowledge and perspectives of local people and utilize their knowledge to inform our programs. We have often adjusted our programs based on their insights. Our goal is to serve the local populations. We do not come with all the answers to save the day. No, we view ourselves as allies and helpers, not leaders and saviors.
A Commitment to Least Available
While there are opportunities for change in the US, we are the wealthiest nation on the planet. We have the resources that many other countries do not. I am in no way saying our systems are perfect, and there is no need. But, we are much more equipped to help those in need. I have traveled to countries and have seen babies and toddlers living in extreme conditions. In Africa, I held babies and toddlers who were skin and bone, fighting for survival because of absolutely no nutrition. In Asia, I witnessed low to no services available for abused babies and toddlers stuck in the sex industry. These problems are widespread, affecting thousands upon thousands of babies and toddlers every year. Many of these foreign governments are either unwilling or unable to help, which is too heartbreaking to imagine.
With all of these commitments, the main point is to do something, anything to help. For you, that may mean in your neighborhood, and that is okay. But for others, it may mean crossing country lines and helping a baby or toddler who needs it. If so, we would love to have you join us and save babies where help is most needed but least available.