There is nothing more delightful than children eager to learn. This morning I had the pleasure of speaking to students, all the way in Ajman, UAE, attending Ajman Academy in Year 3. They couldn’t wait to take their turns at asking me questions about the places I’ve been and the children I’ve seen. They wanted to know about the UN Shot@Life campaign. These children were only 7-8 years old, studying children’s rights. They had seen my Pinterest boards about Shot@Life and looked at my photos from my trip to Tanzania. They had also seen my board on the importance of educating girls and they still wanted to learn more.
I told them we had started with 40 champions, that we’re now 500 and someday we might be 5,000. They had to stop and figure out the math, and when they did, their eyes widened with amazement. When I talked about hunger, how many people have to live on $1.50 a day, it immediately hit home and they knew how impossible that would be to do in Dubai. I spoke about a rural clinic in Tanzania, which was a mud hut with a tree and a scale hanging from a branch, where they weighed their babies. They asked, “How often does the doctor come?” I told them once a month. They were astounded since they go to the doctor whenever they need to.
I also told them about the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life grassroots campaign and giving children a “shot@ more birthdays.” We believe children have a right to a healthy, happy life. I told them it was my birthday and how I was lucky that I got my vaccines so that I could be here to talk to them today. Around the world the world, many children won’t reach their 5thbirthday, let alone the number I’m at. In response, they sang Happy Birthday in Arabic to me. It was an amazing birthday present.
The children are creating scratchboard pictures and a video about children’s rights and allowing me to share the stories with the UN. I’ll also be writing stories about them. I can’t wait to see their creations and share them with you. It was so well worth getting up at 4:30am to talk to them.
Even today polio continues to kill and cripple. It’s back in areas that have been polio-free for years. Measles are killing an estimated 450 people–mostly children–every single day, taking away the opportunity to celebrate milestones like birthdays.
Join us. There are so many ways you can support healthy children around the world.