This week in Paris, world leaders are meeting at the annual G20 Summit. I'm here with my media, government relations, and child health colleagues from around the globe who work tirelessly, not just this week but every week of the year, to bring attention to child health issues around the world.
As part of our awareness campaign at this year's G20, World Vision urged Parisians to participate in a game of chance, spinning a colorful wheel to see what kind of life they might live based simply on where they were born. Chance dictates where each of us is born – and whether or not we will have enough to eat, be able to attend school, or live to see past our fifth birthday.
On the eve of the 2011 G20 Summit, Parisian children spin the "wheel of life" at World Vision's G20 stunt in Paris.
I watched as Parisians young and old joined in the activity, eager to learn if they would “win” or “lose” at the game of life. Tourists from as far as Argentina and neighbors from down the street walked through the plaza, watching others spin the wheel and learning from World Vision staff about the challenges of being a child born in a country like Chad.
I've had the opportunity to talk with student volunteers at the event in Paris like 23-year-old Elie Awad who said, "It’s not acceptable in our day to know that people are dying from lack of food. We can easily act to avoid such things.”
The reality is that children born in France are 43 times more likely to celebrate their fifth birthday than a child born in a country like Chad. Here in France, malnutrition is virtually unheard of in young children. However, as one of the least developed countries in the world, Chad is the perfect example of a country in greatest need of G20 support. Children in Chad are dying of things children in France so rarely die of – things like diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. About one-third of children could be saved with better nutrition; the G20 has the political power to enact food security measures to make that happen.
At the same time, World Vision is asking U.S. Congress to preserve critical funding in the International Affairs Budget for life-saving global humanitarian programs. Though this budget makes up just 1.4 percent of the overall federal budget, it provides funding for programs that literally save lives around the world. In a recent article on USnews.com, World Vision director of government relations Bob Zachritz argued for the importance in funding global humanitarian programs.
These are the reasons we're here -- to urge G20 leaders to remember those children born on the wrong side of chance, and to support the programs that help save children's lives.
Watch the interview from Adam Taylor, vice-president of Advocacy for World Vision, on the importance of bold leadership from the G20.
Take a stand for one of the millions of children dying every year from preventable causes. Join the movement today at www.childhealthnow.org.
Send a message to your members of Congress. Ask them to preserve critical funding in the International Affairs Budget for life-saving global humanitarian programs.
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