Welcome to the inaugural post of my blog, Logging Miles.
Today, I officially stepped into my new role as President & CEO of Save the Children. It’s an extraordinary honor to lead this organization, and a great responsibility on behalf of the world’s children.
One of the very first things I’m doing is launching this blog, one that I hope you’ll read – and contribute to – regularly.
Why, with all the pressing needs of the world’s children, have I made this blog such a high priority?
Because I believe that the best way we can serve the world’s children and their families is to get us all pulling together in the same direction on their behalf. Blogs and social media – including Twitter, where you can follow me @carolynsave – offer an opportunity for me to engage with you and people around the world more directly than ever before.
By engage I mean not only talking but also listening. Save the Children has an amazing story to tell, delivering critical health, education and other services to children around the world, but we don’t know everything. What are the ideas you have for helping more children? For raising awareness more effectively? For bringing the skills of others to the party?
What skills do you think you or your organization might bring to our mission? What doors might you help open for us with governments around the world so that we can reach children in need?
Of course, I’ll have plenty to say, too. I’ll share with you my experiences and opinions on everything that touches the children we serve, relay to you developments here at Save the Children and elsewhere, introduce you to many of our wonderful people, meet some of the children we serve, and report as I travel around the world to the 120 countries where Save the Children works – sometimes in incredibly difficult and dangerous conditions.
I visited one of those difficult places very recently: Kenya, where Save the Children and other NGOs are struggling to keep up with the flood of refugees from famine and disease in the Horn of Africa. Thousands arrive daily and it is so easy to get caught up in the staggeringly large numbers and not focus on the individual faces.
One of those faces belongs to Abdi, a 13-year old whom I met shortly after he arrived at the camp all alone, his father dead and his mother missing. Can you imagine enduring the loss of both your parents, and then trekking to a refugee camp in a strange place on your own? It’s more than most of us could endure. We simply must not leave children like Abdi – and there are, tragically, so many like him – on their own with little to no support. We owe them more than that.
Someone recently asked me why I got involved with Save the Children. The answer lies in one of those “aha” moments you sometimes get. It was about 16 years ago when I was working in Asia. I was traveling with my family in the Philippines, and as I held my then infant son in my arms, our car pulled up to a stop. Looking out the window I saw a woman holding a young child about the same age as mine. And that’s when I suddenly realized that the only thing that kept these two babies from growing up in a similar fashion is where they were born. On one side of the glass was a child who would have a world of opportunity before him. On the other side was a child who would have none of those opportunities.
Today, as I take over this great responsibility at Save the Children, I am re-dedicating myself to Abdi, the baby in the Philippines and the many children like them around the world, children who just need an opportunity to survive and thrive. I hope you will do the same, and I hope you will join me on this journey as we work to make their lives better.