A briefing note from UNICEF and World Bank in 2018 reported that children are more than twice as likely as adults to be living in extreme poverty. In absolute numbers there are an estimated 385 million children living on less than US$1.90 a day. Children represent half of the global extreme poor while they only represent around 32% of the global population.
On one hand, this briefing note paints a sorry state of living for children while on the other hand, it reminds us of the fact that we need to even put in more effort towards ending child poverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, (IDEP), commemorated on 17 October each year, presents a global opportunity for reflection, dialogue and action geared towards positive reduction of these numbers of children living in poverty.
Last year (2018) was not an exception. Together with our partners in 32 countries, we took part in 38 grassroots activities reaching up to 1686 children. Impactful out of these activities were those that involved donation of material property to children. This is because such donations directly and quickly put a smile on a child’s face, having been provided for what was perhaps making them live in poverty.
In India, our partners Shanti Ashram; through their India Poverty Solutions Initiative, organized hundreds of children from 10 institutions to collect food grains for fellow children who live in poverty in the region. This is part of Shan Ashram’s children volunteer programs for the well-being of children living in extreme poverty, in which about 300 benefitted during IDEP, 2018.
In Montenegro, Djeca Crne Gore, a member of the Global Net- work of Religions for Children, (GNRC) coordinated some secondary school students to give foodstuffs and clothing to poor neighborhoods. This was after a brief workshop with the same students, deliberating on possible remedies for child poverty. These donations were done on 16 October, just on the eve of IDEP and 35 families benefitted.
Similarly, our youth network from GNRC Ethiopia organized a feeding event for street children during IDEP. Despite providing food to the children, this was also an admirable gesture of love and compassion to the street children. In Cuba, our partner through GNRC donated clothing and foodstuffs to 62 children in San ago de Cuba.
GNRC Moldova on the on other hand took part in an event dubbed: The life of each child is a priority. Through this event, they donated foodstuffs to about 400 disadvantaged children. In collaboration with teachers, GNRC Romania on the other hand donated stationery to children in Bucharest, Reghin, Bistrita Nasaud county, Dambovita county, Bacau county, and Brasov county within Romania.
These among many other actions during IDEP 2018 within and without our networks went a long way in providing direct aid to the child from poverty. Such giving actions should be replicated during other times of the year other than being limited to the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. That way, next time a briefing paper on poverty is released, it wouldn’t be shocking as far as child poverty is concerned.