Oh, it’s almost that time of the year again. When those delicious chocolates are whipped out, flowers are in-demand, romantic gestures expected and us single folk look on, thankful we don’t have to plan anything!
Yep, Valentine’s Day is almost here and while some of us may not be wining and dining this Sunday, there are many different kinds of love that we can all celebrate. One of the most cherished and talked about bonds is that shared between mother and child.
Unconditional, priceless, loyal, limitless and sometimes downright annoying (who hasn’t thought how did she know that?), a mother’s love knows no limits and for those of us who aren’t parents, can never be properly understood.
Sadly though, love alone can’t always protect the world’s children.
Consider the 400,000 kids in Ethiopia in need of emergency food aid due to the growing El Ñino weather crisis that is leading the country towards severe drought conditions. Throughout 2016, it’s predicted the total number of people affected will rise to 15 million, including 1.7 million children and lactating mothers.
Imagine being the mother of a child under these circumstances where the extreme weather conditions increase the risk of malnutrition, death or injury. Or living in the Ethiopian regional state of Oromia where sparse rainfall has led to a long summer, resulting in intense droughts and inadequate food supplies. Consequently, many local school children have been forced to drop out of school.
For kids in Laos though, dropping out of school is the least of their parents’ worries given it is the most bombed country per capita in the world. During the Vietnam War, over 270 million cluster munitions were dropped on Laos with 30 per cent failing to detonate, remaining live today as a result. These unexploded bombs claim many lives each year and are responsible for too many kids dying.
A local resident of a small rural village in Nonghet shared her fears: “I find new bombs in this land every year. I am afraid young children who don’t know the danger [of the bombs] will dig the land and touch them when playing in the fields…”
If you’re anything like Jessica Rudd, being informed and aware certainly makes you think twice. The author of Campaign Ruby and Ruby Blues opened up just prior to the birth of her child last year about how her pregnancy will be so different to millions of other mothers’ around the world. Mothers in areas such as Syria and Nepal.
Lots of Aussie mothers out there share Jamila Rizvi’s (she’s the Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Women's Network) realisation that they want to live in a world where they can lean over the fence and ask their neighbours for help.
WATCH Jamila pledge her support for Australian Aid below. Post continues after video.
Sadly, in terms of Australian Aid and assisting countries such as Ethiopia and Laos, Australia simply isn’t pulling its weight. In last year’s Federal Budget, Australian Aid was cut by $1 billion - and if the further scheduled cuts of $224 million proceed, Australian Aid will plunge to its lowest ever levels.
Aid is important investment: these funds go towards programs run by key organisations such as Plan International Australia whose priorities in Ethiopia include protecting children from violence, education and emergency response. It contributes to ChildFund Australia’s vital work in Laos, where they’ve been working to clear the area of bombs so that kids can play and live happily without any danger or concern.
Once upon a time, The Beetles wrote a song called A You Need Is Love - for so many loving mothers, this is nothing more than a mere jingle.
If like, like Jessica and Jamila, you’re keen to support your neighbours, join the Campaign for Australian Aid.
Sarah Cannata is the Communications Officer for Campaign for Australian Aid
WATCH Jessica Rudd pledge support for Australian Aid.