“Save the Children is often told that its aims are impossible – that there has always been child suffering and there always will be. We know. It’s impossible only if we make it so. It’s impossible only if we refuse to attempt it.” Eglantyne Jebb, Founder, Save the Children
From a girl on the train to Trafalgar Square …
As my first week at Save the Children International comes to a close, my reality has, at times, been about getting used to being a London commuter. From the very early starts (fuelled by coffee) to constantly checking the ThamesLink app to see if a train will turn up or not (there has been a bit of a fiasco in UK following introduction of a mammoth new timetable across the network). I’m pleased to say the ‘Rail Gods’ have shone on me every day, and I’ve always been where I needed to be on time (even unexpectedly early on occasion!).
Sunshine in Trafalgar Square – what a fantastic spot for lunch!
Like Helen (see her earlier blog), I’ve put my devices firmly into my pocket and held my head up high so I can ‘enjoy the moment’ – observing and absorbing everything going on around me. From looking up at the beautiful architecture in our wonderful capital London, to gazing into the faces of young and old, rich and poor, happy and sad; all full of experiences, with stories to tell and untold futures. I’ve made a point of smiling at anyone whose eye I catch, and without exception I have had a smile back – sometimes with a fleeting glimpse of surprise. It is this that has woken me up and put a spring in my step in the early hours of each day.
Yesterday, I took the opportunity to have my lunch in Trafalgar Square (which is right behind my office!), and reflected on the beginnings of this special organisation, which was founded by Eglantyne Jebb in 1919 …
… to one girl in Trafalgar Square back in 1919
The remit of Save the Children today is truly staggering; it operates across 120 countries in all corners of the globe and tackles deep rooted, and seemingly impossible issues. It champions children at all levels, from advocacy and campaign to shape policy … all the way to the grassroots and hands-on humanitarian work that directly changes the lives of some of the most deprived and neglected children in the world, which includes putting an end to child marriage, tackling discrimination against girls, educating refugees, eliminating deaths due to preventable disease and always fighting for the rights of the child. Save the Children really do want to do whatever it takes to reach every last child, as they pursue their ambition for a world in which all children survive, learn and are protected.
While Eglantyne may not recognise the tourists in Trafalgar Square today, I think she’d recognise (and be proud of) the unbridled passion, energy and commitment to the cause she championed and founded nearly 100 years ago. She was a woman ahead of her time, and one of the most influential women of the 20th century, yet one of the least known.
All in all, I’ve had such an energising first week. I’ve been made to feel very welcome by the team at SCI, and am quickly immersing myself in the work of STC and the emerging Centenary plans. My head feels fit to burst, and there will be such a lot to do in the months ahead, but I’m feeling very motivated, excited and ready to go … nothing feels impossible.
Finally a smile … who have you smiled at today? … look up, make eye contact and you might just make someone’s day!
“The world is not ungenerous, but unimaginative and very busy” Eglantyne Jebb
(ps – I haven’t yet read the book that inspired the title of this blog – and that was given to me by my mom this week – so no spoilers please!)