At everyone’s most basic level, we all want somewhere to lay our head every night. Filipinos living in the path of last year’s Typhoon Haiyan’s early morning storm surge and over 300km/hour winds lost everything within a 30-minute span, including their homes, and many, sadly, lost loved ones.
Those tracking the storm before it hit on November 8, 2013 projected that Typhoon Haiyan would reach the islands by 9 AM, but it sped up and reached landfall around 5 AM, just as everyone was sleeping. No one knew Haiyan would be as powerful as it was.
After the storm, entire families were relegated to living in tents until temporary shelter kits could be delivered. Some live in makeshift and patchwork homes built from scraps even today, and some still do not have homes to call their own a year after Haiyan. And yet, there are some families who have been given the keys to a new home, one that was creatively designed to withstand high winds, rain, and – yes – even typhoons.
When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis G Sambo, called for increased funding last month to eradicate and control neglected tropical diseases by 2020 in Africa.
There has been notable progress is controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). For example, all sub-Saharan countries save for Chad, Mali, Sudan and Ethiopia, have eradicated guinea worm. However there is still much work to do in order to wipe out the seven most common neglected tropical diseases.
The international NGO, End 7, is committed to seeing an end to neglected tropical diseases by 2020, but they need the help of the global public. A mere $.50 can protect one person for a full year from the seven most common NTDs. End7 has put together this telling video that shows the real face of neglected tropical disease. A young girl hasn’t grown properly and is perpetually legargic because of intestinal worms and her grandmother can no longer work because of elephantiasis.
Neglected tropical diseases keep the world’s poorest people in a constant cycle of poverty. These diseases – caused mainly by insects and parasites – keep productivity low. Sometimes entire communities are stricken by one or more of these diseases because they do not understand measure by which these diseases can be prevented and/or do not have the proper medications to keep these diseases at bay.
Last Friday we participated in the UN Foundation’s digital rally toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We helped mark the 1000-day countdown to the MDGs and now that they are squarely in sight, there is much to do to ensure the goals are achieved. In reality, some won’t be met by the 2015 deadline and that is why global leaders have already met to develop a framework for post-2015 development goals.
The Open Society Foundations (OSF)has created a video citing the case for justice to be put on the post-2015 development agenda saying that without justice no other goal can effectively be reached. Their argument makes sense.
OSF’s case is that justice is the foundation upon which all goals can be achieved.
“About four billion people live without rights and without access to the protections of the law, vulnerable to exploitation and violence, at risk of losing their homes or their land, and at a disadvantage in dealing with the criminal and civil justice systems that should be there to protect them,” wrote Christopher Stone, President of Open Society Foundations.
Watch the phenomenal video below about adding justice to the global agenda. And download Open Society Foundation’s Successful Models for Partnerships and Implementation.
UPDATE: Did you watch American Winter and want to help? Visit their Facebook page for updates. You can also donate to their Kickstarter campaign to help the families profiled in the documentary.
Tonight at 9 PM on HBO a riveting new documentary, American Winter, will premiere to millions of people. The award-winning documentary shows the injustices of American families in Oregon as they brave poverty and winter.
THE FILM: Directed by Emmy-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz (HBO’s “Taxicab Confessions,” “The Defenders”), AMERICAN WINTER features struggling Oregon families who called into the state’s “211info” social services hotline in search of help in the winter of 2012. The film presents an intimate snapshot of the state of the nation’s economy as it is playing out in the lives of many American families, and reveals the human consequences of rising economic insecurity, budget cuts to the social safety net, and the fracturing of the American Dream.
WHEN: Debuting MONDAY, MARCH 18 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
WHY: The latest U.S. census data shows that 48.5 million Americans are living in poverty, the largest number in the 53-year history of published poverty estimates. This includes 16.1 million children.