South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo feels like one of the greenest places on earth.
I’m writing to you after a lengthy trip through Congo visiting International Medical Corps’ work in this war-torn country. While traveling, I was struck by the stark contrast: green rolling hills for miles and yet malnutrition is a common problem for the people of South Kivu. At our health centers, doctors and nurses told me of the steady stream of emaciated children.
I heard the same frustration repeated over and over among the Congolese I met: the potential and desire for positive change versus the continuing insecurity after decades of conflict.
Chance, a student volunteer at International Medical Corps’ office in Bunyakiri, is fluent in Swahili, French and English and will soon graduate from college. Yet despite representing Congo’s promising tomorrow, he asked me: “How can I plan a future, when I know that my family is not secure?”
Or the police officers in Bukavu, determined to break the cycle of violence, who brought their wives and children to our training to learn more about women’s rights and gender-based violence. The program works with police officers, as well as soldiers, religious leaders, lawyers, judges and teachers to turn community leaders into advocates for change.
So often people view Congo as a failed state, beyond hope. Yet to do so would ignore this country’s greatest asset -- the determination of the Congolese people to secure a brighter future for their country.
To learn more about International Medical Corps’ efforts in the Congo since 1999, and some of our inspiring staff working to create lasting change within their own communities, visit our hub page.
I have so much to celebrate this Mother's day. I am so grateful to my husband, Christopher and my two children, Luke and Eve (and our third baby who is on the way) for making me a Mom. Being a Mom has been my most important job to date and I take my job very seriously and I have a lot of fun doing it.
At the same time, I realize how lucky I am to have something that too many mothers don't have: access to medical care that supports their health and that of their families. Maternal health remains a staggering challenge, particularly in the developing world. Globally, a woman dies from complications in childbirth every minute.
On "Grey's Anatomy," I play Arizona Robbins, a pediatric surgeon fiercely determined to give mothers the chance to see their children grow up healthy. In the real world, I see this dedication in the courageous and committed health professionals who work for International Medical Corps. They are the ones saving lives in some of the world's toughest environments – places like Darfur, Afghanistan, the Congo and Haiti. They are making motherhood the blessing that it should be, instead of the health risk that it can be.
International Medical Corps has made women and children's health and well-being high priorities in its work since its founding in 1984, recognizing this as the key to promoting health and building self-reliant communities in the most vulnerable and underserved places. On the frontlines of disaster and despair, International Medical Corps provides lifesaving antenatal and postnatal care, trains midwives and traditional birth attendants, improves access to obstetric equipment and health facilities, and educates health workers as well as parents on healthy nutrition and childrearing practices. Their teams work closely with local communities to promote safe motherhood and childcare in a sustainable way, ultimately strengthening the resilience of families, communities and nations.
On a day traditionally reserved for celebrating mothers I would like to also celebrate the work that International Medical Corps is doing for Mothers - helping give so many women and children around the world the futures they deserve.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 5 people have been killed in clashes between army forces and supporters of General Bosco Ntaganda (wanted by the International Criminal Court). More than 4,500 refugees have crossed the border into Rwanda with more waiting at the border. There is an urgent need for medicine, amid fears of looting of health facilities and widespread displacement.
International Medical Corps is monitoring the situation and preparing to deploy if needed.
Give today and your support can help us respond to crises like this in the Congo, while continuing long-term recovery efforts. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
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That got us thinking: what if we could get even a small fraction of those millions to show their support for saving lives and rebuilding communities devastated by disease, conflict, and natural disaster?
When you "like" us on Facebook and share our posts, you're helping more and more people to find out about our lifesaving work. And when more people know how they can help, we can restore health and hope to more communities around the world!
2012 is almost here and we would like to take a moment to thank you for supporting our ongoing relief efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This year with the help of our amazing supporters, we were able to continue to provide care in the Congo and around the world, while responding to crises in Libya, East Africa, and Japan. You can see for yourself --click on the video below and hear firsthand from our staff on the frontlines, working in some of the most unstable and dangerous regions of the world.
And as we look to the future, we hope we can count on your support again.
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