Why I Give: Every Child is a Possibility

November 15, 2011

By

social@unicefusa.org

Growing up in developing countries, I was able to see UNICEF at work. Everywhere I lived, they were there, always doing their best to help kids who often had nothing. So I trust UNICEF, because I know they do exactly what they say they do. (Dominique Slavin is a long-time friend and member of the Puerto Rico Fund for UNICEF.)

 

Dominique and her kids | Courtesy Dominique Slavin

When I was growing up, my parents worked for the International Labor Organization. My sister and I got to see fascinating and diverse parts of the world, as my parents’ careers took us from Trinidad to Peru to India. Of those three places, India made the deepest impression on me. I lived there from ages nine to fifteen. On New Delhi’s wide boulevards and ubiquitous roundabouts, you’d see whole families on one bike. Being in a car meant that you were wealthy. We would drive to my school, and on the way there was one — and only one — stoplight. Naturally, we would stop there every day, and children between the ages of six and nine would run up to our windows. We could see that some of them were missing their tongues. I was told that they had been cut out so the kids would be more successful at their job, which was to beg. I always knew that the main difference between these children and me was money. My family had money, so I sat inside an air-conditioned car and went to school. Their families did not, so their tongues were cut out and they were sent into the street. And it was also clear to me that this was essentially happenstance. It was the grace of God that had put me inside that car, and nothing else. I contribute to UNICEF because I have left a piece of myself with those children. They didn’t choose that life, and they didn’t control the grim circumstances they faced every day. But something can be done for children like them, and UNICEF is there to do it. Growing up in developing countries, I was able to see UNICEF at work. Everywhere I lived, they were there, always doing their best to help kids who often had nothing. So I trust UNICEF, because I know they do exactly what they say they do. My own children are involved now, too. My sons are very active and have helped build a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program at their school. They’ve really taken to it and don’t stop talking about Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Their commitment actually lasts year-round. Every month, they each give a portion of their allowance to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. I’m glad that they have been able to help other children and also that they have been able to learn about the reality faced by most other kids in the world. Every child is a possibility. So if we do everything we can to help each possibility, then there’s more hope for all of us. That’s what makes UNICEF’s mission so basic and so important.