2019: The year in review

Dec 30, 2019
As 2019 draws to a close, we’re taking stock of the year that was – the challenges we faced and the places where we see hope. Here are seven stories that had a big impact in 2019:

Child Labour

Canadian youth are serving us so much hope. In January, a group of youth submitted a petition with more than 50,000 signatures “demanding that Canada takes action against child labour, modern slavery, and other human rights violations in corporate supply chains.” This prompted the Government of Canada to announce its plans to initiate consultations on corporate supply chain legislation this year. Progress! Watch these youth and their inspiring message now:

Somebody Believes

In January, Canada’s favourite children’s entertainer, Fred Penner, came out with a new song called ‘Somebody Believes,” inspired by Edgar Gonzales, a World Vision employee and former sponsored child. Watch the music video now:


Cyclone Idai 

On March 14th, Cyclone Idai made landfall near the port city of Beira in Mozambique's Sofala province. With winds of up to 177 km/h, the storm brought torrential rain, flooding areas across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.This was followed by Cyclone Kenneth on April 21st. Our staff were on the ground providing immediate assistance to children and families impacted by the disaster but the needs are great, and we continue to scale up our response.

Maria, 16, with her son, devastated after their house was destroyed by floods during the cyclone. Photo: Antonio Massipa​

Women Deliver

In June, we attended Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality. This year it was held in Vancouver, and we invited 12 youth leaders from across Canada to join us as part of our delegation. History was made at this conference when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.4-billion annual investment over ten years for women and girls’ health and rights. 

At Women Deliver, the World Vision delegation included 12 youth leaders selected from campus clubs and youth groups across Canada. Photo: Marie Cook


In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Since August 2018, we have been working with communities to improve awareness, prevention and understanding of Ebola, reaching almost a quarter of a million people to date.

a young Congolese girl holds a baby
Neema, 17, is an orphan after both her parents died from Ebola. She now lives with her aunt in Beni, DRC. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt

Barrett Family Foundation donates $25 million

The Barrett Family Foundation announced a new gift of $25 million, following their first gift to our Vision for Vulnerable Youth Initiative in 2016. Responding to the program's positive impact on thousands of youth in Honduras and El Salvador, the family is partnering with us again to expand the initiative into five additional countries - Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia - to impact the lives of thousands more vulnerable youth across the combined seven countries. This donation is the largest we've ever received.

a group of six people stand smiling at the camera
Our President/CEO Michael Messenger with Robert Barrett and members of the Barrett Family Foundation pose with Vision for Vulnerable Youth participants in Honduras. Photo: World Vision staff


Political and economic instability has severely shaken Venezuela to its core, while a humanitarian emergency crisis has quietly unfolded in the background. Food shortages, lack of medicine and violence have led an increasing number of Venezuelans to flee the country and seek safety in neighbouring countries. To mitigate the challenges we moved quickly to assist the arriving Venezuelans in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, by providing them with hygiene kits, food, medicine, shelter, and by creating child friendly spaces for social and psychological support. 

children and parents walk carrying heavy bags
Venezuelan children and families crossing the border at Cúcuta, Colombia and embarking on a long road looking for a better future. Photo: Erica Bohorquez

On the eve of 2020, we celebrate the successes of the previous year. There will be challenges to overcome in the new year, but there is hope. We will continue to go into dangerous places and work with local community leaders to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable so that every child can have the chance at a full life no matter where they live. And we invite you to join us on this journey.

More stories for you

Ukraine crisis: What’s happening and how is World Vision responding? Facts and updates on the Russia and Ukraine conflict. Learn how the situation is impacting thousands of people fleeing the country, including children.
Protecting the right to education: What you should know Here are facts and figures about what it takes to protect the right to education and what can be done to make sure all children have quality education.
Flexibility: What makes World Vision Canada a top employer Why was World Vision a Canada Top 100 Employer in 2023? Hear directly from some of our team members—and apply to join us today!