At the Intersection of Peaks and Valleys: A Week in the Life at Myriad Canada

20 March 2023

By Ronit Yarosky, Senior Program Manager


Perhaps the most amazing thing about working at Myriad Canada is that nearly every day, we are presented with gifts.
Not the kind of gifts that come with fancy paper and pretty ribbons. But the kind of gifts that make you sit back and thank the universe for having the incredible privilege and luck to live where we do.

One of the silver linings behind the paperwork and process historically required to send Canadian charitable funds outside of Canada is the close contacts we have with the organizations we work with. This has resulted in one of the greatest blessings of our work: the incredible relationships we have developed with hundreds of amazing people across the globe, all of whom are dedicated to making our world a better place.

School outreach – sexual health and reproductive rights education in the Gambia

Just last week, we wrapped up a project in the Gambia working with community leaders to open up the conversation around sexual and reproductive health for adolescents. The taboos around this issue have created a huge problem among adolescents who have very little knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights. More than half of the population do not go to school and many parents, religious leaders and community elders are not prepared to discuss sex or sexual health, leaving young people extremely vulnerable to early child marriage, unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other STDs etc.

Joseph Idigba Awuru, Executive Director of Hope Life International in the Gambia shared that the impact of this project really opened the eyes of people in his community. Parents, teachers, religious leaders and the youth themselves who participated in project activities are mobilizing their communities “to spread information of the rights of adolescents to have sexual and reproductive health education in their schools and to prevent sexually transmitted infections and cultural abuses”.

For us at Myriad Canada – these impacts are extraordinary gifts.

But behind all the genuinely wonderful success stories lie the silver lining’s alter ego: the reality. The incredibly huge, enormous reality of our world. The reality of the many lives of those who our projects do not reach.

The magnitude of this reality can sometime hit home with incredible force, occasionally throwing me for a loop and requiring a moment to pause and engage my internal ‘reset’ button.

In early February 2023, along with the rest of the world, I watched in disbelief as the numbers of deaths and injuries climbed higher and higher following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. KBF took immediate action, launching an emergency campaign in connection with our Myriad Alliance partners. We immediately checked in with our networks in Turkey and Northern Syria, all of whom were thankfully ok, but overwhelmed with the sheer enormity of the tasks facing them.

That same week I also worked on: a project for marginalized Pakistani women who lost everything in the recent devastating flooding; two projects to support Ukrainians on the front-lines of the aggressive Russian invasion; a project to develop evaluation tools for an initiative dealing with the dire climate crisis; and a project to rebuild a hospital in Beirut following the catastrophic port explosion.

It is not too difficult to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the state of our world, especially following a week like that.

While there is no doubt that the world gives us plenty of reason to despair, it also gives us plenty of reason to rejoice. The success stories that emerge from the literal and figurative rubble of the world (if you will permit the earthquake pun) are a huge source of inspiration and joy – as is the incredible generosity of the many thousands of Canadians who support the charitable projects that make it all happen. At the end of the day, none of this would be possible without YOU.

In my current role as project manager and in previous roles as a professional fundraiser (and as a donor myself), I know full well just how important it is to say ‘thank you’ to donors. It’s like ‘Fundraising 101’. But we really don’t need our titles and credentials to truly understand and appreciate the enormity of you: our donors. Like us, you see the brokenness in the world – and you make an intentional choice to do something about it.

The girls in the Gambia who now have the knowledge and capacity to resist child marriage or take measures to stay healthy: that is happening because YOU care. The women in Pakistan who will receive livestock in order to be able to provide a living for her family: that is happening because YOU care. And although at times the task ahead may feel like it’s Everest on top of Kilimanjaro, your compassion and support are what will allow for those who benefit from KBF funded projects to achieve things that may never otherwise have been possible.

You are beyond amazing.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at if you would like more information on any of Myriad Canada’s charitable projects.