To Save a Life

The following speech won 1st place in the JHS Prefectural Speech Contest 2010. It was written by Minami Akiyoshi from Akita Higashi Junior High School.

To Save a Life

Have you ever encountered an event that you couldn't believe? Met your favorite actor? Lost your wallet? An event that was either good or bad?

Last winter, I found out that my father has cancer. At first, I didn't believe it. I never thought that I would lose someone in my family. But as I kept visiting my father in the hospital, I began to understand that he may never be cured. During that time, I was very sad and full of fear. However, by the grace of the doctors and nurses, my father has recovered and now spends his days well.

Now I want to save the lives of other people because I'm thankful to the doctors who saved my father. I want to give others the hope and desire to live. If we get sick, doctors can help immediately in Japan because of our advanced medical technology. I am happy to be born here. However, when I look closely at the world, I see many countries without advanced medical technology. Therefore, many people die every day.

Do you know how many children in the world die in a day? About 25,000. Do you know how many children die every year? About 12 million. Most of them are from developing countries, mainly Africa and Asia. One child out of 5 never reaches their 5th birthday. And 53% of these children and their parents don't want to live.

Their cause of death is important to take note of. They are pneumonia, diarrhea and the measles. With a little knowledge, simple treatment and low costs, these 3 sicknesses can be easily cured. But how do you tell these children about this? What can we do to help them?

I immediately started researching and this is what I've found. Just 10 yen can save a life. 10 yen buys a meal for one child in Bangladesh. When children eat, their immune systems strengthens. Their bodies are able to fight back disease. The cost of vaccines for polio, measles and other diseases is between 7 and 95 yen. It's not that much! In Japan, the government has a tax that is used as a donation for developing countries. However, there won't be real changes if we each don't do our part.

I have a strong desire to do something for the world. I found out about Doctors without Borders - an international non-profit organisation. Several thousands of its members work in more than 65 countries. I want to become a doctor and be a part of Doctors without Borders. I'd like to improve my English ability and excel in my studies so that one day, I can join them.

What can I do now? I can put 10 yen every day into a heart-shaped box given by the NGO - Good Neighbours. When that box becomes full, I'm going to give it to the organization to help children. For the happiness of people in this world, the most important thing to do is think of ways to help. Instead of starting with big things, why don't we start with the small things? Then, together we can create a world in which every single person can live peacefully.

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