There is no doubt we are living in challenging times. We are surrounded, inundated with news that quite literally takes our breath away. And it should. Only this week we have been shocked and appalled to learn of another chemical gas attack in Syria. We couldn't turn away from the devastating photos of a heartbroken father cradling his beautiful, deceased twin daughters. The latest victims in a tragic, brutal and seemingly endless war. And we shouldn't turn away. We need to be aware. We should raise our voices and advocate for those without voices. Without homes. Without families.
But while wars seem to wage everywhere it is also of huge importance - now more than ever - the focus on the good news stories and celebrate humanity's triumphs. Because they are there! Amidst the tragedy and the brutality there is a body of amazing humans who quietly but tirelessly go about trying to make a difference in this crazy world. And the good news is - they are making a difference.
Earlier this year, Bill and Melinda Gates wrote their annual 2017 letter to their friend Warren Buffet who donated the bulk of his fortune to their foundation in 2006. This update is simply remarkable! You should check it out for yourself but here are some of the highlights that we as a global community should absolutely be celebrating:
- 122 MILLION children have been saved since 1990.
- The number of childhood deaths per year has been cut in half since 1990.
- In many nations newborn mortality is still way too high. Last year one million infants died on the day they were born. While this numbers is hugely overwhelming, it is encouraging to see some developing countries making HUGE gains in this area. From 2008 through 2015, Rwanda, one of the poorest countries in Africa, cut its newborn mortality by 30 percent!!!!
- More than 300 million women in developing countries are using modern methods of contraception. It took decades to reach 200 million women. It has taken only another 13 years to reach 300 million!
- Social change is happening when it comes to empowering women. Approximately 75 million women are involved in self-help groups in India!
- Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the last 25 years! But in a recent survey conducted by the Gates Foundation only 1% of people knew it. There are huge gains to be made in educating people and capitalising on optimism. WE CAN BEAT POVERTY!
To the Gates Foundation and EVERYONE working to combat poverty around the world today - THANK YOU! From the people on the ground working in hospitals and clinics, saving babies and running nutrition programs, to the kids in Australia raising funds for their sponsor children, to the people who support fairtrade to enable sustainable livelihoods and to the donors and researchers who are part of large scale poverty reduction projects. THANK YOU! Don't give up. We are cheering you on and partnering with you in this massive venture. And we truly believe together we can beat poverty.
You can read the full letter here