Who is putting the last child first?
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Who inspires you?
I am sure you have been asked this question before – by a teacher or perhaps during an interview for a job or an internship.
Many people mention their parents or other family members; some mention great statesmen like Nelson Mandela; others will name sports or music stars. While I recognize the commitment, talents and sacrifices of all these people, those who have left the greatest impact on me and the way I view the world are people whose names are unlikely to ever get mention beyond their communities.
There’s Ruth, who was so concerned with the development and education of young children in her community that she started her first early childhood development centre in the dining room of her house.
There’s Michael, an amazing role model for young men (and young women), who grew up in an orphanage and now works for an organization that provides assistance to orphans and other vulnerable children.
There’s Selinah, who assists families affected by HIV and AIDS; waking up at 4 am each morning to make sure she can get her own family ready for the day ahead.
There’s Sesie, a community care giver, whose efforts have ensured that the newborn babies she helped 12 years ago when she started, are now about to enter high school.
We are saturated with stories, footage and images showing the philanthropic work of famous individuals. It has its purpose of course – many of them help raise the profile of important issues, or they use their influence to raise funds for projects. But in the end it is the Ruths, the Michaels, the Selinahs, and the Sesies who are at the core of improving the lives of the most vulnerable children.
And I don’t think we can say enough about them and the significant personal sacrifices they make to do this.
As part of the focus on the progress for children since the start of the Millennium Development Goals, UNICEF is asking you to nominate someone you know who inspires you because they are dedicated to putting the last child first.
Who inspires you? Who puts the last child first?
Nominate them here: uni.cf/nominate
The photograph with this post is of Sesie, the community care giver in a rural part of South Africa, as she exits the home of one of the families she supports.