Ever since I was a young girl, I've wanted to help Haiti. During my time at medical school in Haiti, and when studying for my master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University, I knew I wanted to return to my country and help residents get the healthcare they needed. And, as a mother of two, I recognize children's healthcare as exceptionally important.
Fifty percent of children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition, the fourth highest rate in the world, condemning them to a life of learning challenges and putting them at high risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. We are planting the seeds for a movement to ensure that every child in Guatemala has the opportunity to graduate from sixth grade healthy, literate and prepared to continue their education. Will you join us?
There is a universal principle of childhood physics that we all remember well: the joy of spinning in circles. Perhaps it was spinning while locking hands with a playmate, in a teacup at Disney World, dancing in pirouettes, or simply turning in place -- it was a thrill to send our surroundings into a kaleidoscopic blur. This was followed by a dizzy fit of giggles until our internal compasses caught up, and the world came back into focus.
As International Day of the Girl Child approaches, I think of the obstacles that stand in the way of girls and their education. But I also imagine things the way they should be: with them attending university, speaking boldly and confidently, and being valued by all of us for the full spectrum of who they are.
As a child growing up in the rural outskirts of Hong Kong, "wash your hands" was a frequent -- and wise -- admonition. The simple act of eating a piece of fruit or a chocolate bar with soiled fingers and licking those delicious flavors off already dirty hands may have resulted in a stomachache, or so much worse. I was lucky. Even today, intestinal worms caused by lack of access to water for handwashing affects nearly a quarter of the people on this planet.
What would we do differently tomorrow if we knew that the lives of 16 million women and children were at stake? Because they are. In the three years since the launch of Every Woman, Every Child, 260 entities have committed nearly $60 billion to programs intended to save and improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable women and children.
In his book Organizing Genius, Warren Bennis notes that the world's greatest problems can be solved only by creative collaboration and that "the most urgent collaborations require the coordinated contributions of many talented people." Public-private partnerships that bring together the best talents, expertise, and resources from the government, non-profit and business sectors have proven essential for tackling the most complex challenges in global health and international development.