Do you think beyond the statistics to the individual lives affected by conflict, poverty, and hunger? In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two powerful and passionate advocates, Abby Maxman, President of Oxfam America, and Tatiana Rosana, executive chef at Outlook Kitchen & Bar at the Envoy Hotel in Boston, discuss national and international humanitarian problems through the lens of personal stories of suffering, courage, and hope. Both women rose to the top of male-dominated professions and believe their work ethic was in part a response to having to work harder than male counterparts to gain the respect they deserve. This fierce determination informs the work they do helping others. Maxman, who has spent her career doing international development and aid work, recounts meeting a woman named Faith in South Sudan who walked an entire month with her four children after being displaced by conflict, all the while making decisions like which child gets to eat today. “It fuels a sense of urgency, passion and inspiration to do the work,” she says. Rosana found that growing up in an immigrant family from impoverished Cuba made her acutely aware of the issues of poverty and hunger. Feeling fortunate and helping others was ingrained in her from very young age, and as a chef she became a long-time supporter of the No Kid Hungry campaign. “I’m doing what I can with what I have to help. It takes nothing more than your time to invest in these children,” she says.
Host Billy Shore asks Maxman how Oxfam is able to tackle the overwhelming problems of conflict and poverty in areas where governments and the UN cannot. “We use our voice… we make sure that all of our polic[ies] and messages are grounded in the stories of Faith and many others,” she says. Staggering statistics alone — 65M refugees, 880M people going hungry every night – are not effective. “We’re talking about human beings,” she emphasizes. Clearly moved by the discussion, Rosana agrees “When we put names to the numbers, how can you not want to speak up, how can you not want to help? They’re not just numbers, they’re human beings that are going to bed hungry,” she pleads.
Listen to these two dynamic women talk about why getting personal helps fuel their drive to help those in need.