“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” — Nelson Mandela
According to the UN, more than 130 million people are dependent upon humanitarian assistance. That is about 40% of the population of the United States and more than the population of Kenya and Tanzania combined. That so many are suffering so much is staggering. For those of us who do not live that suffering every day, the World Humanitarian Day website has a quiz, that shows some of the choices those in torn and oppressed regions face on a daily basis.
World Humanitarian Day is August 19. The Day seeks to draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international co-operation in meeting those needs. The challenges this day sheds light on are such that the United Nations convened a global summit in May to generate commitments to reduce suffering from global leaders. Leading up to the summit, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, published his report for the World Humanitarian Summit. The report outlined five core responsibilities necessary for delivering a better humanity. The third core responsibility, “leave no one behind”, really stood out to us as an organization because that is what Asante Africa Foundation is all about. (You can access a copy of the report here)
Asante Africa seeks to transform the lives of youth and enable them to be agents of change in their communities, through education and life skills training. Our focus is in the rural parts of East Africa, where education is a luxury and not a birthright and where young girls are at a disadvantage due to poverty and traditional cultural practices in these regions. By building these young people up, giving the resources they need to succeed in the adult world, and challenging them to “pay it forward”, we are building a brighter future for Africa.
As you read further into the Secretary General’s discussion of the core responsibility “leave no one behind”, you will find some of the same themes our organization is fighting for. To “enable adolescents and young people to be agents of positive transformation,” is the core of Asante Africa’s mission statement and this is reflected in each of its programs To “empower and protect women and girls” is something our Girls’ Advancement Program has accomplished for thousands of young girls. To “eliminate gaps in education for children, adolescents and young people” is a focus of all our programs, but particularly our Accelerate Learning in the Classroom, which seeks to enable teachers across Kenya and Tanzania to elevate the quality of learning for their students. The youth and communities we work with become agents of change and not just a statistic. To further facilitate that, our Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator Program prepares students for the transition to the adult world and challenges them to use their growth to benefit their communities. In fact, Social Capital Foundation has so much confidence in this program, it is matching donations, dollar for dollar, to the program through August 31!
Not everyone can be on the front lines delivering aid to those in need. However, that does not mean you have to be in the sidelines. Find other ways to get involved, even if it is just supporting organizations like Asante Africa Foundation. Everyone can be a humanitarian. Martin Luther King Jr. rightly said ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is — What are you doing for others?’ We know we are doing our bit!