WE CANNOT SUCCEED WHEN HALF OF US ARE HELD BACK

Malala Yousafzai

By Susan Biggs, Chief Executive Officer, Adara Development

“They thought the bullets would silence us, but they failed.” Malala Yousafzai

These words from Malala Yousafzai have been ringing in my ears this week as we try to come to terms with the unspeakable cruelty committed in Peshawar against children who were doing nothing more than going to school, and the brave and committed teachers working hard to give these children an education.

Each life taken in Peshawar is a futile waste, but we must not let acts like this silence us or our global commitment to those around the world who, like these children, are simply seeking the education, healthcare, and opportunity that we take for granted.

As the year comes to a close, we are grateful for the opportunity to do our small part to support those around the world who are silenced, not by bullets, but by poverty, discrimination or by the simple fact that they are women.

In the first 9 months of 2014 in Uganda, together with our amazing partner Kiwoko Hospital, we have immunised close to 7,000 children in the community, cared for 675 tiny babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, and admitted more than 2,300 women to the maternity ward for care or to give birth.

Humla SchoolIn Nepal, close to 3,000 Humli people were treated in mobile medical camps, 8,500 people living in poverty in Kathmandu received free medical care, and more than 300 children living in the remote Himalayas were given access to quality education.

2014 marks the end of our three year strategic plan. Reflecting on the past three years, I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved as an organisation, hand in hand with our incredible partners. We have deepened our work in Nepal and Uganda and our operational teams have achieved remarkable outcomes. Our research and knowledge sharing capabilities have grown, allowing us to impact more people each year. We have rebranded, giving birth to a new era for our organisation, no longer as ISIS, but as Adara.

As we look to our future and the development of our new strategic plan, I think we have much to learn from Malala. At just 17 years old, this young woman has a vision for the world that motivates and inspires me to think not just about what we do, but also why. “I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

I think it is time we all raise our voices as one. We cannot succeed when half of the world is held back.

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