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A snapshot of hope in the world

by Valeria Valdez

We use the word “hope” all the time. We hope for others’ success, we hope for issues to be resolved, and we hope for everything to work out. On a smaller scale, “hope” plays an essential role in human communication. However, hope alone can also be the difference between giving up and holding on. Every year, the lives of millions of people are upended by conflict, natural disasters, and socio-economic hardship; the climate crisis, as well as the pandemic alone, add to these.

Hope is the thing that one holds on to. Hope guides individuals during times of pain and inspires them to get real and hold themselves accountable. It is the thing that reminds the world of its resiliency and encourages leadership.

Pakistan’s rural population, like so many others around the world, struggles to find quick and affordable access to healthcare. Journeys into populated cities to seek health care are costly and challenging, even more so when multiple trips are required. Lockdowns and the pandemic magnified these issues.

Forced to look for alternatives, several hopeful solutions emerged. Entrepreneur Mahila Khalid and her team began to streamline their free health care system Doctory, to help millions of patients avoid multiple referrals and find the right doctor immediately without the need of traveling into the cities. Doctory is a triangle network, allowing people from any part of Pakistan to call and speak to a primary care physician in just five minutes.

“People in rural areas make the arduous journey to a faraway hospital first to get an appointment,” Maliha explained. “They must navigate multiple languages and travel again for the appointment itself, costing more money. They might give up altogether, seeking home remedies and further risking their health. I realized that the problems stem from the initial journey of a patient when they are trying to determine which doctor to see. The issue is not confined to any gender, socioeconomic class, or literacy level – it is across the board,” she said. “On average, it takes five referrals before a patient reaches the right doctor and gets a correct diagnosis. That was eye-opening; I wanted to do something,” she said. Today, Maliha’s business has a team of general practitioners and consultants, helping patients access complex medical information across Pakistan and beyond. Maliha also hopes eventually to bring mental and sexual health care to communities that currently have no access.

Across the globe, from Costa Rica to Greece, countries are finding hope, looking to mount a sustainable and resilient recovery. In Costa Rica, the country’s brigadistas are on the frontlines to do this, having gained increasing recognition for fighting gender stereotypes as effectively as they’ve fought the country’s forest fires.

“I want to be someone, to be seen, not be invisible. I want both men and women to see each other and the support that we too can give,” said brigadista, Melissa Aviles. Continuing with the Gender Action Plan, created by the World Bank Group Program and the FCPF, Costa Rica looks into the future hoping to reduce emissions stemming from forest degradation and deforestation. The brigadistas and the GAP will play a central role in shaping Costa Rica’s recovery into one that is both sustainable and inclusive.

Slowly, communities all over are harnessing their hope to build a better tomorrow. Utilizing their hope, individuals are changing their communities and making the changes that they want to see in the world. As these global efforts increase and we continue to encourage communication and fight disparities, the world is slowly emerging into a future where we can be hopeful for the years to come.


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