Yes! Celebrating 2020
As we come to the end of a year we tend to look back and reflect on how the year has gone. 2020 has no doubt been one of the most challenging years many of us have ever experienced. It began with record unemployment, news that the previous ten years had been the hottest on record and staggering figures that half the world’s wealth is in the hands of 162 billionaires (Wong, 2020). Then came COVID-19 and the pandemic. Its impact has been global.
Millions live with death on a daily basis, either from disease or from aggression. Let us not forget that people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone lived through two years of horror with ebola in 2014-2016: there were over 28,600 cases and more than 11,300 deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). Estimates of deaths in the war in Syria range between 400,000 and well over 500,000 since it began, with just under 2000 in the last year alone (Statista). Many of us have not experienced the daily threat of death which COVID-19 has brought. It has shaken our assumptions of safety and created a whole new way of life. With 88 and a half million cases and nearly 2 million deaths to date (Worldometer, 2021, January 8), what is there to celebrate?
In November I wrote Time to Celebrate, encouraging us to focus on the positives in life, the small things to be grateful for on a daily basis. Britanny Wong (2020) has recently done just that in her summary of 2020. Here are some of the 18 causes for celebration which she has identified from the last twelve months.
- Congo discharged its last Ebola patient
- Dogs trained to protect wildlife have saved 45 rhinos from poachers in South Africa
- People around the world rose up to protest police violence and racial injustice
- The Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected by civil rights employment statutes
- Polio was officially eradicated on the African continent
- Scotland became the first country to make period products free
- The COVID pandemic drove a record drop in global carbon emissions in 2020
- Hundreds of religious leaders called for a ban on conversion therapy
- Thanks to the COVID vaccine, the biggest vaccination campaign in history has begun
Let us reflect on these causes for celebration, these momentous events, most of which I personally would not have noted had Wong not made the effort to look for positives in 2020 and brought them to our attention (and had our student volunteer Sam not read them and sent them on to me).
What have we at The Values and Visions Foundation to celebrate?
- Two new trustees and two student volunteers have joined our team.
- We secured funding to donate books and deliver free online sessions to schools in Brent including Barham Primary School and Alperton Community School.
- We have donated copies of our book to schools in rural Uganda.
- We have worked with schools in Bucks, Yorkshire and Brent, face-to-face when we could and online when this was not possible.
- We have offered free resources on our website to support educators and parents during the pandemic.
- We have published a blog a month including guest publications from Dr. Megel Barker and Partnership for Children: V&V Blogs.
- Our subscriber newsletter has been redesigned and sent out on a regular basis, letting you know of new developments, helpful ideas for teaching and events of interest.
- We have created a V&V introductory manual and a V&V journal for participants for use in workshops.
- We have formed inks and partnerships with
- Values-based Education
- Partnership for Children
- Natural Born Leaders
- The Imagination Acts
- Robin Richardson.
We are a strong, positive team moving forward into 2021.
We need to grieve for those we have lost and for all the devastating events that have turned upside down the lives of so many since the start of 2020. It is vital that we take time to do that. It is no less vital that we find those moments, however small, those events however great, that can lift us and give us hope.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/history/2014-2016-outbreak/index.html#:~:text=The%20impact%20this%20epidemic%20had,outside%20of%20these%20three%20countries.
Statista Research Department (2021, January 4). Number of civilian deaths in Syria, December 2019 to December 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/742468/civilian-deaths-in-syria-monthly/
Wong, B. (2020, December 30). 18 Actually Good Things That Happened in 2020. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/good-things-happened-2020_l_5feb660fc5b6ff7479847494?guccounter=1
Worldometer, (2021, January 8). COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/