Anne Geddes is famous for her photographs of children, but around the United Nations Foundation office, she’s known as a passionate global advocate for our Shot@Life campaign, which helps provide life-saving vaccines to children who need them most.
We recently had the chance to talk to her about her involvement:
Jenni Lee: What inspired you to get involved with Shot@Life?
Anne Geddes: Shot@Life approached me to be a global advocate, and it was a no brainer. I consider myself a global advocate for children over my 30-year career. I’m very pro-vaccination, and I’m here to highlight the fact that 1.5 million children die through lack of access to vaccines in the world, and that’s just totally unacceptable. I think everyone should have a chance at a good starting life. These children don’t really don’t have any choice, so I’m here to raise awareness.
JL: We have been making progress in saving children’s lives through vaccines. Is there anything that gives you hope in your work and in this cause?
AG: I think we can certainly make a difference because it’s a problem that’s easily solved, and that’s through vaccination. I’m here representing Shot@Life and using my imagery and my reputation and the fact that people trust me around the world because photographs are a universal language. Hopefully we can forward our work a little bit faster.
JL: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned as a Global Advocate for Shot@Life?
AG: It’s surprising that 1.5 million children die every year through lack of access to vaccines.
To think of the mothers and fathers who literally lose multiple children. Every mother is the same, regardless of which country she lives in and which society she lives in. Mothers have the same feelings about their children. And I couldn’t imagine losing my child to a disease that’s vaccine preventable.
JL: What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone who wants to get involved with creating change?
AG: My advice is: Don’t think you can’t get involved. There are so many ways on so many levels to make a difference, and I think everybody that does get involved gets so much more out of it than they ever thought they would.
Be passionate. I’m a mother, and I’m passionate about newborns and new life and new opportunities.
JL: The United Nations and world leaders are working on a new set of global goals to provide dignity and opportunity for every person by 2030. What kind of world do you hope for by 2030?
AG: Well, certainly a world that’s free of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. There’s a lot of work to be done to get these vaccines to all the countries where they are most needed. What I can do is raise awareness through my work.
JL: Are there any other messages you want to share?
AG: Shot@Life has helped provide 15.8 million vaccines to children around the globe.
When people hear negative stories, they tend to think there’s nothing they can do. But there is something, and Shot@Life and partners are continually working and making a difference.