“What are you doing about Ebola?” Someone brashly asked me that question last week and it made me pause. Although the closest Ebola case is a few thousand miles from me, a small piece of the continent I love has been ravaged by this new plague and I do have a role to play. Indeed, what am I doing about Ebola?
As I considered the question, I went through a few phases.
- Panic. “NOTHING! That is what I am doing about Ebola. Absolutely nothing!!“
- Passive. “Well, there is no Ebola here to do anything about. Folks in the US are far closer to Ebola cases then I am.”
- Pitiful. I cried. A lot. For the stories of both resilience and loss.
- Insightful. “Daily I invest in tomorrow’s leaders of Africa. Those that will face Ebola and what ever follows. Perhaps not today, but what I do is about empowering the bright young men and women of Africa to respond to the crises that come.”
And this is why what we do is vital. Twenty years ago, there was insufficient investment in the young leaders of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. When crisis struck there were not enough trained doctors, nurses and leaders to properly address the need. So a crisis became a catastrophe.
You see, it actually matters that millions of young adults lack investors in their potential to be change makers. Not just to me and my do-gooder heart but to the global community. There are costs attached to a crisis like Ebola. If your smartest students, your hope for tomorrow, cannot afford to attend university and cannot get the quality training that they need, a crisis like Ebola will quickly stop you in your tracks. If your bright young minds are not taught how to lead with courage, compassion and character, they will not make the sacrifices needed to serve their countries.
Currently These Numbers Have Faces are supporting numerous doctors-to-be, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, and perhaps a future President or two. Today we are investing in tomorrow’s response to Ebola—or whatever is next.
That is what I am doing about Ebola.