by Lily Zhang, Senior, North Allegheny
Carolyn S. Miles is the first female CEO and President of Save the Children, an independent organization that has been changing the lives of children in need since 1919. Save the Children’s outreach has been growing ever since. They are now committed to helping over 70 million children from 120 countries around the world. In her first appearance with the One Young World 2012 Summit, Miles began with the humble declaration, “I’m not a superhero.” However, an exclusive interview with Miles revealed the far-reaching nature of this leader’s work and the true definition of being a superhero.
Save the Children reaches out to children with programs that focus on educational and humanitarian issues. The organization believes that children are the future. From her work with Save the Children, Miles has discovered that kids are extremely hopeful, declaring, “I go to some of the worst places in the world…and you would think that they [the children] would be sad all the time, but they’re not.” Miles believes that given the right resources, young people will be capable of helping their countries and communities to develop.
The program strives to empower local residents to better their communities. Miles explained that while they recruit some outside volunteers for emergency situations, most of the workers in the program live within the community. These workers are primarily women, and Save the Children gives them the necessary training to positively impact their communities.
Despite the growing success of the mission, Miles maintained that she was not a superhero. Instead, she cited a mother in Nepal who makes $2 per day, yet still raises her five children. Even more inspiring, Miles spoke about Madeleine So, a mother in Malawi who began serving as a community health worker after tragically losing a child during birth. When asked her reason for participating heavily in this program, the woman said, “I do it because I actually had two babies, but one of them died…I do it because I don’t want any mom to ever have that happen again.” Madeleine So now saves the lives of hundreds of children, demonstrating the power of even just one person’s heroism.
It is amazing to think that while Save the Children reached countries around the world, Miles herself is actually a native of Pittsburgh. She noted how being raised in a family-oriented city has shaped the way she looks at world. She has learned that “it’s not just about you, but others as well…and it just takes one person to make a difference.”