The World Needs More...

Tomorrow, the international community will mark World Humanitarian Day- a time to come together and recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others around the world. It was a day founded by the United Nations General Assembly to honor the aid workers lost in a 2003 bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. This World Humanitarian Day marks 10 years since that event, and to reflect on both the lives lost in that tragedy as well as others over the years, the U.N. has asked organizations and individuals to respond to one simple question: What do you think the world needs more of?

As I think about both growing up- and growing my psychosocial career- in Palestine, I’d answer that question by saying the world needs more of Umm Ibrahim. Umm Ibrahim was a teacher I had years ago during elementary school in Nablus. Being raised in the difficult, intensive times marked by Intifadas and the impact of conflict, Umm Ibrahim was a constant presence in our young lives, addressing our needs both in and outside the classroom, and modeling equitable relationships between men and women. It was her calming, nurturing, and strong presence that truly sparked my interest in psychosocial work- and her examples of discipline and engagement with children still inspire me. She worked in a dangerous environment to build into the lives of kids like me, and her impact lasted long beyond our young years.

TYO Core Program staff, Psychosocial Program Manager Suhad, and kids.

That long-lasting impact is why I'd fill in the "What Does the World Need More Of" blank with early childhood education specialists. Whether teachers in our Core Child Program or social services professionals throughout the Middle East, I'd like to make special mention of those safeguarding our smallest generation this World Humanitarian Day. We know the value of early childhood education- and the critical need for protective workers is reinforced by recent campaigns by leading agencies like UNICEF about violence's impact on children.

The impact of early childhood development workers could be like Umm Ibrahim's influence on my life, or a simple positive presence amidst circumstances like poverty or conflict. Their role is much more than just a preschool teacher, psychologist, or other sort of social service provider- they're the protectors of the future generation, and through their investment in individuals, they're bringing incredible benefits for future peace and stability in our society.

Suhad Jabi Masri is TYO's Psychosocial Program Manager. Above, she writes about World Humanitarian Day, and shares her answer to the U.N.'s question: What does the world need more of?