Teaching compassion to my children

After returning from deepest darkest Indonesia with Unicef, I had this conversation with someone:

“But why would you bother going all that way to Indonesia to reach people that probably don’t want to be reached? I mean, it’s sad and all that they live in poor conditions, but really, isn’t it a waste of money sending all those resources into the middle of nowhere to treat a couple of kids? What about the kids back here?”

Of course when I say ‘conversation’ it was pretty much a one way rant. People do like to rant. Especially when they have no real knowledge to base that rant on. I was probably sat there with my jaw on the floor or my fist in my mouth or something.

Here is what I believe to be true. Every single child, no matter where they are in the world or what they are born into, has the right to the best possible start in life.
No child should die needlessly. NONE.
If we as human beings are able to prevent unnecessary deaths then why wouldn’t we? Why wouldn’t we try? We wouldn’t we try to give them a decent standard of health and education?
These are standards we demand for our children, why can’t those in the backwaters of Papua, in Eastern Indonesia have them too? It’s just geography.

I want my children to grow up in a world knowing that those born into an ‘good’ life will go on hold out their hand to those who were not. That we can all help.
It’s about being decent human beings.

This is not a post to make you feel guilty for being happy and healthy and having a good life.
This is a post to tell you that the work Unicef are doing with Pampers in places such as Papua are working. And they won’t stop because the ‘vast majority’ of a country has eliminated tetanus. They will keep going until those in the hardest to reach places are helped.

As I sat on the porch of Regina Caitman’s home in the tiny village of Sawa Erma, she tells me about life with her husband and her five children.
The village is tiny. Everything is raised up on short stilts as the ground is swampy underneath.
It’s hot, it’s poor, it’s unhygienic.
The homes are basic wooden shacks. Life here is Tough. Yes with a capital T.

Regina is heavily pregnant. She has lost two of her children – a boy and a girl – to diarrhoea and malaria.
She’s 31 and her primary concern is being a good mum and doing everything she can to keep her children safe.
She is just like you or I. Except where she lives is at high risk for maternal and newborn tetanus. Her husband can no longer work as he had a stroke at the age of 39 and she never winds down – she never stops working, even when pregnant.
So the fact that money from the Unicef and Pampers campaign to eliminate the disease has been channeled into the village means Regina has had her vaccine.
Her babies are safe.
As she tells us this, like a mother lion she pulls two of her girls closer to her.

Now tell me, why don’t her children deserve a decent start in life?
And then look at the gorgeous smile on this young boy’s face and tell me again, why doesn’t he deserve a little of what our kids get?

It is possible to give every child a good start in life.

And if you’ve been scanning this post until now – yes, you, right there, you, I know what you’re doing – now is the time to take notice and help make that difference.

If you’re a mum in the UK or Ireland and you buy nappies, consider buying Pampers from now until the end of December: Every pack bought with the “1 pack = 1 life-saving vaccine” mark on it means you’ve helped.
Not buying nappies any more?
You can quite simply ‘like’ the Pampers Facebook page = 1 vaccine.
Personalise your own Miffy story = 1 vaccine.
Download the free Pampers Out and About iPhone app = 1 vaccine.

All free, all save a life.
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