Monday, October 19, 2009

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty:

In recognition of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, today’s observance focuses on the plight of children and families living in poverty and the need to fulfill children's rights. The events will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Since the adoption of this event in 1992, there have been considerable advances around the world in securing children’s rights to survival, health and education. A better protective environment has been created to shield children from exploitation and abuse as well. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done to create a world fit for children.

Poverty is a global phenomenon. No matter where you go, individuals living in absolute poverty will never be far away in fact extreme poverty exists in practically every country on earth.

There are several ‘Social Definitions’ of Poverty - Some people describe poverty as ‘a lack of essential items’, such as food, clothing, water, and shelter that are needed for proper living. Poverty is also described as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.

When people are unable to eat, go to school, or have any access to health care, then they can be considered to be in poverty, regardless of their income.

It does not take governmental statistics to prove that a person has to fit a certain category. When one can look at a hollow eyed child whose body has so little meat on it that you can see his/her skeletal bones poking out you, are aware that they are in serious need of food and assistance.

There is merit in giving donations to children’s organizations in various countries also, but have you noticed any children in your own neighborhood or city who are undernourished, not dressed appropriately according to the climate temperatures, or living in run down buildings?

The most commonly used definition of global poverty is the absolute poverty line set by the World Bank. Poverty is set at an income of $2 a day or less, and extreme poverty is set at $1 a day or less.

1.1 billion people, or 21% of the world population, have incomes less than the World Bank’s ‘$1 a day’ line for extreme poverty. 2.7 billion people have incomes less than the World Bank’s ‘$2 a day’ line for poverty. Almost one-half of the world’s population lives in poverty, mainly in sub-Saharan African and South Asia but also in your country as well.

Poverty should be defined by an persons inability to affect change in their lives. Another factor, many experts on poverty talk about when they talk about defining poverty, is empowerment.

'Empowerment' refers to the ability of an individual to make choices regarding his or her life. Often, the poor are not empowered - they are forced to work at certain jobs or do certain things, and often, this state of existence can be linked to poverty.

So I ask you, were you aware of the serious lack of nutrition and health care for so many people in the world?

Have you ever made a conscious effort to assist a person or family who is living in extreme poverty?

Have you ever volunteered at your local food pantry or homeless shelter?

If you are not available to volunteer are you able to send in a donation to assist a similar mission in your own place of worship, neighborhood, state, country or even in another country?

When you sit down to eat your daily meal has your body received adequate nourishment for that day?

Let me know what you are doing to assist or if you have any suggestions to help. Are you training your children to have humanity in their hearts to recognize and help those who are living in extreme poverty?

I guess that my point in writing this is to say

“Won’t you please reach out and help? Please.”

Today is set aside to help to eradicate poverty. Give it some thought!

Blessings to you and yours.



“Rich and poor, we have entered the same mysterious gateway of human birth, into the same adventure of mortal life. The agony of the poor impoverishes the rich. We are inevitably our brother's keeper because we are our brother’s brother, [we are our sister's sister]. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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