It occurs to me that some of the folks reading this post may by interested in my journey, but haven't heard really what I'm doing here in Africa. After all, I never really explained it very well, did I?
I am a volunteer champion for the UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign. This campaign raises awareness, funding, and advocacy for global vaccines. We focus on four diseases, which are the top killers of children worldwide: polio, measles, rotavirus, and pneumcoccal virus. A child dies every 20 seconds from a treatable or preventable disease. Champions spread the word that together we can SAVE a child's life every 20 seconds by supporting global health focused foreign aid and fundraising from individual donors.
We believe every child - no matter where they are born - has a right to life-saving immunizations, so that they can have a chance at those universal childhood milestones we treasure so much and sometimes even take for granted in the United States.
I've met kids in extreme poverty who are proud of their homework showing me impeccable handwriting. I've watched them sing and dance. I've met young girls who are very skilled at making crafts from recycled items who sell them as young entrepreneurs earning money to buy their own school books and sanitary napkins. I've made silly faces with them and listened to them boast about their skills playing "football" and "netball." I've listened to them tell me they want to become teachers, nurses, executives, lawyers, and even President or Chief Justice. Do those sound like any children you've met where you live? Yep.
We hope we can bring a bit of them into your hearts, so you'll join us in ensuring a bright future for them. We are far from home, but dedicated to getting these moments and stories because want every child to have a shot at playing with a cuddly puppy...
...or being loved by Mommy....
If you are inspired by what you are reading from me (or from my fellow travelers) and want to help make more of these moments possible, you can donate to Shot@Life at www.shotatlife.org. Just $20 can save a child from four deadly diseases. Donations to Shot@Life are directed to UNICEF and the GAVI Alliance. Both are effective partners in the distribution of vaccines globally.
If you'd like to celebrate some of your own milestones with children, check out the Shot@Life mobile app to help capture and organize them. Cool stuff!
Thank you for reading and coming with us on our journey to save children's lives.