ReadersMagnet Review recommends these five remarkable reads about humanitarian work for 2021.
The Face of Hunger by Dr. Byron Conner
The Face of Hunger chronicles one of the world’s infamous tragedies- the Ethiopian Famine from 1983 to 1985. This 2016 memoir features Dr. Conner’s experiences in Ethiopia with his family following their decision to fly to the country to do missionary work. Conner, his wife, and children stayed in the country for three years, where they witnessed first-hand the horrors and damage brought by the food crisis. In his book, Dr. Byron Conner shares his struggles setting up a small clinic in the town of Gimbie while also visiting and doing missionary work in other places, including Addis Ababa and the northern province of Tigray, particularly in Makele, a town severely hit by cholera. The Face of Hunger also exposed other issues in the country, such as the absence of national health care, the lack of medicines and medical personnel, the displacement of thousands of people because of local tribe wars, and corruption. Above all, The Face of Hunger is a story of one family’s determination to help a country in crisis.
Three Cups of Tea by David O. Relin and Greg Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea is a 2007 memoir by a young American mountain climber named Greg Mortenson. It was 1993, and Mortenson reached a small village situated in Pakistan’s impoverished Karakoram Himalaya region. Mortensen arrived in the beautiful village sick, tired, and defeated after failing to climb the summit of K2. With the help and care of the village people of Korphe, he regained his strength and vowed to return and repay their kindness. He promised to build them a school when he comes back. This excellent book chronicles the extraordinary humanitarian work of one man, who, despite the threats and dangers of the region (from Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists to local rivalries and kidnappings), succeeded in his mission. Mortensen not only built schools but also brought non-extremist education for young boys and girls in the region.
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World is the complete title of Tracy Kidder’s 2003 non-fiction narrative about a man’s passion and dedication to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who are in dire need of them. In this inspiring work, we meet Paul Farmer and his journey from a medical student who dreamt of curing some of the world’s deadly infectious diseases to make a difference in solving global health problems and inspiring people wherever he goes. Mountains Beyond Mountains is a touching story that will take us to Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer infects people with his philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.” It is a work that will give us a new perspective on life and humanitarian work.
A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is not about a particular humanitarian work. It is a research work that compiles an on-the-ground reportage exploring how altruism affects our perspective, whole being, and ultimately, our actions. The husband-and-wife- tandem highlights the struggles faced by women and girls worldwide and honors the individuals and institutions working to address oppression and expand opportunity. A Path Appears is a documentation of various humanitarian efforts in many countries and serves as a reminder and inspiration that we can achieve great things with solidarity and compassion as guiding principles. It also provides ideas and advice on how to provide effective and long-lasting aid. A Path Appears is a well-written book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson
We cannot get enough of Greg Mortenson’s inspiring narrative, so we’ll end our list with another book featuring his journey in the Pakistan region. Stones into Schools is a 2009 memoir that picks up where Three Cups of Tea (2003) left off. The book highlights his work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005. Mortenson also shares the relationships he has built with Islamic elders, militia commanders, and tribal leaders in the area. Stones into Schools highlights, for the first time, Greg Mortenson’s dream of promoting peace and solidarity through education and literacy programs for everyone. Set in the culturally rich backdrop of the Himalayas, Mortenson reminds us how education can serve as a tool for progress and peace. Another heartwarming narrative of one man’s journey and kindness, Stones into Schools, is equally enlightening and compelling as Greg Mortesson’s previous work.