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South Sudan's 5th Birthday

It's amazing to me how becoming a parent opened my eyes to so many things.
I suddenly understood the feeling of wanting to give your baby the whole world. 
When I had Svea I remember holding her in my arms during that first week
and already thinking of what books I wanted to read to her, 
wondering what activities or sports she would want to play,
and if she would like the same foods as me or not.

Now Svea is growing and thriving.
She loves
Swedish meatballs,
brightly colored bandaids,
Kermit the Frog,
and so many other things. 

Only a few years before I'd had Svea, 
the youngest country in the world, Sudan
was established. 
Mothers there gave birth to their sweet, little ones
in a time of peace
and I know that they dreamed and wondered about the same things
that I had. 
What would their children want to do with their lives? 
What would bring them joy in each day? 
But all too quickly, those hopes were dashed when war broke out. 

This is Zeieya. 
Photo by a CARE photographer. 

She is turning five years old, 
the same age as her country.
Her home was destroyed as war came to her town
along with the homes of 2.3 million other Sudanese. 
She collects firewood for money, 
has no opportunity for any schooling, 
and her favorite game is pretending that she has food.
Photo by a CARE photographer.

Just reading about this sweet, little lady
breaks my heart, 
because I know that feeling that parents have
of wanting the best life for their children. 
Not being able to provide physical nourishment,
or an environment where Zeieya can have a carefree childhood 
as she develops and discovers activities or hobbies that she loves
must be a heart breaking thing for her parents. 
Photo by a CARE photographer.

I know just how blessed I am to live in a country
where I can raise my daughter with nutritious meals, 
clean water, 
right to religion, 
a safe home, 
and the opportunity for her to be involved in activities,
 attend one of many schools available,
and know that her dreams are possible. 
So as I celebrate my independence this year on the 4th of July, 
I am also celebrating Sudan's 5th birthday with CARE.
CARE is a global humanitarian organization that 
fights poverty by empowering women. 

Having collaborated with them before to send messages of hope to refugees
I knew I wanted to collaborate with them again
to reach out to more families in need. 
They work hard so that literally .90 out of every dollar donated 
goes directly to helping refugees (like Zeieya)
around the world.
Photo by a CARE photographer.

Consider celebrating your independence with me this year 
by thinking about those not as fortunate as you
and sending whatever help you can!
or watch the video below for more information.

 Thank you to CARE for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to help South Sudan!
This post is sponsored by CARE, but the content and opinions expressed here are my signature
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