Religious leaders remain undeniably one of the most sought out agents of social and policy change in our society. They have a long standing historic and widely spread presence in any society because they work with large groups of people from every strata of society. Alleviating poverty, especially poverty affecting children is one of those desired social and policy changes most societies want to achieve.
In efforts to achieve this, as a society, we tend to work more with religious leaders. More often than not, positive religious teachings and practices have the potential to promote children’s wellbeing and spur service towards children affected by poverty. In light of this, we engage and work with faith leaders especially in our campaigns geared towards ending child poverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, (IDEP) is one such campaign in which through our partners, we reach out to religious leaders at grassroots and global level to advocate for a world free of child poverty.
During IDEP campaign 2018, our partners; UŽ Mozaik, a member of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) from Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a workshop with religious leaders and children, addressing child poverty. Through the workshop, the religious leaders were able to hear from the children regarding their account and experiences of poverty. The religious leaders suggested possible solutions drawn from the children’s views. Our partners in Rwanda; Umbrella for the vulnerable too had members of different faiths in their IDEP activity.
The faith representatives offered prayers to the 100 children present before they could be incorporated in the health scheme; which seeks to eradicate child poverty through provision of health to children. Similarly, GNRC members Dominican Republic together with religious leaders offered a special interfaith prayer targeting eradication of poverty.
The Evangelical Indigenous Church of Imbabura from Cuba on the other hand donated land to set up a guinea pigs breeding project targeting 10 indigenous families. During IDEP last year, the church presented the achievements of the project which majorly involve sale of the pigs from which the money helped children of the families in Otavalo afford basic commodities.
These are a few examples of the impact of faith leaders in alleviating child poverty as drawn from our 2018 IDEP campaign. The examples prove beyond doubt the usefulness of religious leaders in ending child poverty. It is for this reason that at Arigatou International – End Child Poverty, we believe in interfaith advocacy and lobbying as a way to end child poverty.