2020 was a roller coaster. So much happened this past year, from out of control wildfires in Australia, political tensions between military powers, severe drought and flooding, plagues of locusts, and protests against anti-black racism around the world, all amid a swelling refugee crisis, and an ongoing climate crisis.
It's a bit startling to think that all that happened in 2020 too, because nothing has dominated our lives and our headlines like the global COVID-19 pandemic
- According to the WHO, there have been 83,715,617 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including 1,835,901 deaths.*
- In Canada, we’ve seen a total of 601,663 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 15,865 deaths.*
And the numbers continue to rise. In other words, it’s been a harrowing year.
But it’s not all been doom and gloom. 2020 saw Canadians extend our compassion and care for our neighbours in meaningful ways, from picking up groceries for the most vulnerable to donating to local foodbanks. Canadians stepped up so much that it made headlines around the world as ‘caremongering’
And a recent IPSOS survey
revealed that despite the hardships of 2020, 80 per cent of Canadians are optimistic that 2021 will be better than the last.
All of this was reflected in our top five most read stories of 2020. In case you missed them:
At the beginning of 2020, swarms of desert locusts ravaged countries in eastern Africa, covering 405,000 hectares of land (more than the combined size of Ottawa and Toronto) across parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda. It even threatened crops in nearby South Sudan and Yemen. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the region hadn’t seen such a severe infestation in 70 years.
IN 2021, the UN warns new swarms of desert locusts
are threatening the livelihoods of millions of people despite a year of control efforts.
World Vision teams in the region have been working hard over the past year to support the immediate needs of children and families affected, as well as to help with long-term recovery plans, all amid a global pandemic.
The global pandemic has meant that families are spending more time at home. School closures in 194 countries globally have affected nearly 1.6 billion learners
– over 90 per cent of the world’s school-going population.
Parents, teachers and caregivers have been looking for ways to support their students’ learning in simple and creative ways. Building a reading corner is a great way to that.
As part of her local reading club, eight-year-old Sahki was encouraged to make a reading corner in her home. With the help of her parents, teacher, and the reading club facilitator, her reading has improved dramatically. And so has her confidence. As Malala Yousafzei once said, “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world."
From the beginning of the pandemic our main concern was stopping the spread of the virus and avoiding becoming seriously ill. But as time has progressed secondary impacts have risen to the surface. Concerns like accessing enough food, ensuring children continue to learn, and finding ways to weather the economic recession have come to the forefront for Canadians.
As crucial as these concerns are, there are other key impacts of COVID-19 and our related response measures that require urgent attention and action: an increased risk of violence against children.
Ending violence against children is a key priority of World Vision and is an essential part of our response
as we support communities around the world in dealing with COVID-19. In addition to promoting measures to prevent the spread of the virus and strengthen health systems’ and health workers’ ability to respond, we are undertaking essential activities to keep children safe.
In 2020, we had to learn to keep a safe physical distance from people outside our bubbles, in order to slow the spread of the virus. For many, it’s been a lonely and difficult year. The isolation has made it easy to feel disconnected from community and the wider world.
As we learned to navigate these new challenges and unknowns, a growing movement for good emerged in Canada: #caremongering. To raise spirits and show love for our communities, we offered five ways to show compassion as an individual, in solidarity with others, or as a global citizen.
Because caring for our neighbours here and everywhere – it’s the Canadian way.
Like everything else in 2020, Christmas was really different. Because of the pandemic, Health Canada recommended against travelling or gathering indoors to celebrate most things this year, which means many of us had to simplify our Christmas celebrations as well.
It was disappointing in many ways, but at the same time, getting creative with our plans was a great opportunity to do something new and fresh. We gathered a list of ways families could celebrate the holidays while keeping themselves and those outside their bubbles safe.
Focusing on what is possible instead of what is not possible can make a huge difference.
*As of January 4, 2020