On Human Suffering—It Only Takes One

By Hania Abu-Eid, Kiva's communications manager, and Lev Plaves, Kiva's portfolio associate for the Middle East and South Asia

As vivid photos, videos and narratives of unimaginable destruction, death, loss and despair flash on our television, computer and cell phone screens it’s hard not to be confronted with the suffering of  members of our human family. From Palestine and Israel to Iraq, Syria, Congo, Ukraine and so many other places around the globe—the excruciating reality is that people are dying. And not only that, people with families, dreams, aspirations for a better life, are being killed every day.

With all the freedom and possibility available at our fingertips in high-tech societies, it's a strange experience to watch the news and feel so utterly powerless sometimes. It’s easy to feel as though, being halfway around the world, there’s nothing you can do to stop the violence or make any sort of change. But the truth is we can act. And what we do does matter.

In moments of pain, jadedness and discouragement—remember that one life counts. One gesture counts. It only takes one moment or one act to change a life. You can be that one person to help transform someone else’s world. Human suffering is a universal struggle, and we all face it in a thousand different ways. But each ounce of good makes a difference, and is a salve to that pain.

We see it happen every day here at Kiva. The growing 1.3 million people whose lives have been impacted started with just one. One person choosing not to stop in the midst of that feeling of powerlessness. One person deciding to act.

Whether it’s creating opportunity for someone else, giving advice, providing a warm meal, tutoring a student, standing up for human rights, making a donation to a cause you care about or making a loan on Kiva. Take pride in every kind act you do. Hope is our lifeline and together we make our world better, more capable of healing and more capable of coexistence.

Thank you for all the work you do to help end suffering.

“Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sounds. By such means, ...awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world. If we get in touch with the suffering of the world, and are moved by that suffering, we may come forward to help the people who are suffering.”  ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

About the author

Hania Abu-Eid

Hania is excited to bring her experience in media relations and cross-cultural communications to Kiva as a Communications Manager. She joins Kiva from Edelman Public Relations where in addition to providing public relations and strategic counsel to clients including AMD, HP and Adobe, she created Sprout, a global service providing PR counsel to early stage startups, VCs, and small entrepreneurial ventures. Most recently she was invited to the White House’s Champions of Change initiative after she led a successful nationwide media campaign for the official National Day of Civic Hacking - the largest-ever “mass collaboration” of civic hackers in the US supported by the Obama Administration. Similar to the spirit of Kiva, the National Day of Civic Hacking allowed everyday people to collaborate with one another and the government to solve problems through technology by building anything from an app for backyard poultry farmers, to platforms that expand access to energy consumption data. Prior to her time at Edelman Hania also worked in the non-profit sector for the Center for Multicultural Human Services in Virginia as well as Ketchum Public Relations, Porter Novelli in Dubai and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States focusing on education in the Middle East. Hania is fluent in Arabic and grew up frequently traveling to the Middle East. She is currently a mentor and on the council for Progress in Technology In the Middle East (PITME), a social impact accelerator devoted to supporting the progress and development of entrepreneurship in the Middle East. With a deep belief in empowering ordinary people to improve the world Hania is dedicated to accelerating Kiva’s mission as a Communications Manager. During her spare time Hania enjoys screenwriting, crafting delicious homemade jams and sometimes emceeing outdoor music festivals. She holds her degree in business and communications from Virginia Tech.