TODAY Gives Back is an occasional series that features the charity and volunteer work of TODAY anchors. This week allDAY's Brittany Fuerstenberg speaks with Ann Curry about her involvement with three charities, Doctors Without Borders, buildOn and Save the Children.
She speaks passionately about the importance of giving back and helping both your local and international community. We sat down with Ann so she could articulate her passion for giving and inspire readers to do the same.
You do work with Doctors Without Borders, buildOn and Save the Children. What kind of work do these organizations do?
These organizations help people who are among the most needy and most unseen.
Doctors Without Borders goes into humanitarian disasters -- even war zones -- to help bring medicine to people.
BuildOn helps children who are growing up in poor communities in America find meaning in their lives, by seeing the power of what they can do for people who are disadvantaged in other parts of the world.
Save the Children works all around the world bringing care to children in need -- children in some of the poorest, most difficult circumstances.
All of these organizations do a very similar thing in different ways: They give voice to the voiceless; they give a chance to be seen to those who most of us forget.
What do you do specifically with these organizations?
I go to events. make speeches, and encourage people who are within them. I’ve been asked to be on boards helping support them. I do what I can given the demands of my job.
Are there other charities you are involved with?
I can’t even tell you the whole list. Most of the organizations I care a lot about are groups that help ease suffering -- especially organizations that try to do something to stop human on human suffering, whether it's genocide or crimes against humanity.
How has your experience reporting overseas affected your volunteerism?
It has let me know that humanitarians who are on the front lines of disasters are really doing God’s work. They are the kind of people who we’re glad of. These great souls have discovered their purpose in life is to help a woman who’s been brutally raped, a child who’s hungry or an old man who needs medication. People who feel forsaken, to let them know they’re not. I think these people, in their work, raise our entire human family.
You’ve seen lots of children on your travels. Being a mother, have any of these interactions affected you?
Oh sure, tons of them. One that immediately comes to mind is of a boy who saw me in a Darfuri refugee camp. He was maybe 9 or 10. I was standing there with the light behind me, all dressed in my clean clothes and carrying my camera. As I turned around, there he was looking at me in his rags, hungry and covered in dust. He fell to his knees, uncertain what to make of me. The disparity between his world and mine has haunted me ever since.
I also remember a girl who had been kidnapped by murderers who just killed her parents. She was chained to a tree and raped for months. She could no longer walk. We discovered her in a hospital where she was hoping to be repaired. She had just turned 18 -- she was just a teenager when she had gone through all of this. I was talking to her about her life and asked her if she wanted revenge. She said no. “All I wanted was to rise from this bed,” she said, and thank those who took care of me, work for God and maybe, if I’m lucky, I'll feel a mother’s love again. You never forget those people.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Charity is a daily practice -- whether it’s in kindness to strangers or people you know; whether it’s in volunteer work or becoming a contributor to a cause you believe in.
Acts of charity ultimately make you realize your place as a force for good. There are few things that make you feel better about your life.