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In our “woke”, Twitter-Insta-TikTok culture, what percentage of our time, emotions and resources are being invested in style vs relieving suffering – me included?  When my parents escaped North Korea, did they ever conceive of a world where their children and grandchildren would spend even a microscopic portion of their time curating a perfect digital life vs saving an impoverished human life?


While tweets abound around the last season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians – and yes, I’m embarrassed that I know this – how many of us are aware that:


  • In March 2021, a massive fire ripped through a refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh leaving 10,000 Rohingya families without shelter, food or possessions.  At least 15 people died and 400 are still unaccounted for.


  • March 2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Syrian conflict. Although a decade has passed, the crisis has only intensified and humanitarian need in the country has proliferated to many of the neighboring countries where Syrians are hosted as refugees, including Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.  A few numbers for our reflection.


  • Humanitarian need: 13.4 million people (77% of the population)
  • People displaced internally: Over 6 million
  • Financial need for 2021: $4.2 billion USD 
  • Poverty rate: Over 80% (pre-conflict, the figure was as low as 10%)
  • Food insecurity: 14.2 million 
  • Education: 2.4 million Syrian children are currently out of school


So, style over suffering?  On the road to posting a beautifully filtered selfie, get involved or give to Concern Worldwide .  Its Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency with affiliates in New York City and Chicago.  Concern aims to help those living in the world’s poorest countries which includes long-term development work, in addition to emergency relief in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Concern’s core work focuses on health, hunger and humanitarian response in emergencies and is one of fourteen fully certified members of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership.