Op-Ed by ARJUN AP.
Millions of children, especially those in poor countries, continue to suffer famine, hunger, disease and poverty despite continued help by charity organizations.
Child care organizations have over the years made donations, raised funds and volunteered to help support the world’s children but there is still the need for additional strategies to create a better world for the younger generation.
As observed by UNICEF, The statistical evidence on children living in poverty confronts us with a stark reality: millions of children are poor; they lack access to safe drinking water, essential vaccines, education and nutrition; they are at risk of being exploited and abused. In fact, these critical conditions faced by children, have resulted in wrongful deaths among children in Africa and other parts of the world where poverty has been a canker for centuries.
Though there have been drastic global poverty-reduction interventions in the last two decades, the recent and most comprehensive being the Millennium Development Goals, millions of children in the Third World countries continue to suffer poverty, diseases and other conditions that will not make their situation in the future different from current poor conditions being endured by their parents.
Revealing the devastating consequences of poverty on children, UNICEF emphasizes that poverty deprives millions of children of the needed capacities to survive, develop and thrive. “It prevents them from enjoying equal opportunities. It makes children more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, violence, discrimination and stigmatization,” UNICEF’s report titled “Children living in poverty” stated.
Charity for Poor Children
Charity for poor children offered by charity organizations and religious bodies has been one of the major ways of attempting to help poor children of the world. Many are still wondering why foreign aid has failed to develop Africa and the answer has not been easy to find. But it has to be recognized that poverty is complex and once it engulfs a population, it becomes difficult to solve.
The reality is that most, if not all poor children, for whom international charity, aid and donations are meant, are from poor homes. Under the circumstance, donations and funds that are raised to cater for the needs of poor children end up in the hands of their poor parents and guardians. The children cannot live well once their parents continue to be poor. As a result, child poverty continues unabated once millions of parents continue to be poor.
Some individuals and organizations have also attempted the option of sponsoring a child. But again, how many people or organizations are ready to take up this challenge and how many children can be sponsored for that matter. Charity to the poor continents of Africa, Asia and Latin America may continue to be useful to children but not the solution to child poverty or children’s problems.
Solution to Child Poverty
The solution to child poverty is not easy to find but a much more focused poverty reduction efforts by aid organizations, financial institutions, among others targeted at broader populations rather than segments of population may help. It may be useful and beneficial in the long run to help build the capacity of poor parents on how to empower themselves economically to help their families rather than singling out a child to help. There may, however, be children who require immediate and personal help for their lives to be saved and to avoid wrongful deaths and such assistance cannot but be offered.
Several countries have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has, however, become apparent that most of the countries that ratified the Convention did so for the sake of being recognized on paper as being concerned for the rights of the child. This is because, after the ratification nothing significant is done by the countries to improve the lives of children. The onus now lies on civil society, parents, children, educators and the UN to hold governments accountable on the rights of the child and to insist that governments put the future of children first in all state policies.
Unicef.org – Children Living In Poverty
Save the Children – Child Poverty
United Nations Human Rights – Convention on the Rights of the Child
Un.org – The Millennium Development Goals
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