As a philanthropist, Julian Omidi feels it is important to highlight both noble philanthropic efforts and issues they deserve increased awareness. Here Julian Omidi looks at five underreported stories of altruism and struggle from 2012.
Sometimes we need to be made aware of people’s acts of kindness as well as the deprivation in the world, even if only to remind us to be grateful for all of our own blessings. Neither acts of philanthropy nor news of people who need help typically receive a great deal of attention from our news or social media. Unless a celebrity is involved, important humanitarian issues generally go unreported.
Here are what we believe to be five of the most underreported philanthropic news stories of 2012. Some of these stories involve people and institutions who work to improve the lives of people in nearly hopeless conditions; others are stories that remind us of all of the work that still needs to be done.
1. The widespread distribution of vaccines for pneumonia and diarrhea in Ghana. Without anyone in the rest of the world noticing, Ghana became the first African country to combine the pneumococcal vaccine with a rotavirus vaccine in order to eradicate two of the leading causes of childhood death around the world. Enough medication to vaccinate every single Ghanan child was given to every health clinic.
2. Climate change could introduce malaria back to parts of the world that had it under control. It is believed that in 50 years, regions in Africa will be so altered by climate change that malaria-carrying mosquitoes will begin to flourish in regions previously unaffected, and thwarting all of the efforts made to eradicate the disease once and for all.
3. The police officer who bought shoes for a homeless man. On a chilly New York sidewalk, a police officer noticed a shoeless homeless man, so he stopped by a local shoe retailer and bought him a pair of shoes. The whole event was captured on a passerby’s smartphone camera and broadcast across the internet.
4. Childhood malnutrition in Yemen. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, and was reported that three quarters of a million children are classified as being chronically malnourished—double the statistics of 2000. The Arab Spring uprising and internal insurgencies has caused many citizens to flee to remote areas for their own safety, where there is little food, poor sanitation and rampant disease.
5. The 100th million meningitis A vaccine was administered in Nigeria. Meningitis A is a deadly disease that threatens more than 450 million people in what is known as the meningitis belt, a length of sub-Saharan countries that stretch from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. Over the course of two weeks over 16 million people were vaccinated in Nigeria.
By Julian Omidi