The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—I met a number of interesting people yesterday afternoon—people who really wanted to know something about the United Nations and who were asking questions that many young women and certainly most of the veterans of World War II are asking at the present time.

I had on my television program two people to help me, Dr. Ralph Bunche and Ambassador Ernest Gross. They first tried to summarize the accomplishments of the United Nations in the five years of its existence and to define its aims for the future. Then they helped me in answering questions and they, themselves got so interested that one of the people who had come to ask an interesting question never got on the program!

Everyone wanted to talk at once, and supplement the information that the rest of us were trying to give. That is always a good sign, for it means that those who are asking questions and those who are being questioned really think that what is going on is vital and should be talked about. Next week I hope we will have time not only for the person who missed out yesterday but for more questions from other people.

Yesterday's interest centered in the United Nations because this is United Nations Week, which culminates on October 24 in United Nations Day. It is incumbent upon us to celebrate this day in every city and town and village and home in our country. I hope there will come the time when it will be a legal holiday observed in every country in the world. It is a day when everyone should give a little thought to the people in other parts of the world.

After the television show yesterday I came up to my apartment to find two guests awaiting me—Dr. Piera Vejjavril, a woman doctor from Thailand, and an American friend. Dr. Vejjavril was the first woman doctor in her country and she told me it was quite a struggle to obtain her education and her admission to the practice of medicine. She has devoted herself to eliminating prostitution and eradicating syphilis as well as caring for children who are almost daily left on her doorstep.

It is hard to believe that this little woman has broken practically every precedent in her country and that almost single–handedly she is wiping out prostitution. She has adopted about 34 children whom she supports, the eldest one only 10 years old. Dr. Vejjavril told me this girl wants to learn to be a doctor, so she is going to send her to this country to complete her education in medicine. I hope the youngster will find ours a welcoming country and that it will give her the help she needs in training herself to face the problems among the women and children in her own country.

I wonder how many would dare to tackle the difficulties this little woman has faced and conquered with as much courage as she has shown. As I looked at her I wondered what it was that had inspired her and kept her working to obtain her objectives. I decided that it was a great love of defenseless human beings; the women and children of her country appealed to her as defenseless. She happens to be one of the strong people of the world and so she would not let them down.

How fortunate they are to have such a champion and how fortunate is the country of Thailand that she can carry out her chosen work.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 17, 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.