Over 1 billion children in the world are deprived of at least one basic necessity of life such as food, clean water, shelter or healthcare. Instead of running, laughing and playing with their friends, these children spend most of their formative years struggling to survive.
Poverty affects all aspects of a child’s life. Poverty limits their opportunities to obtain education, puts them at risk for health problems and increases the likelihood that they will be subjected to child labour or early marriage. These children are left hungry for days which increases the risk for malnutrition, underdevelopment, and stunting – all of which can have serious health consequences later in life.
“Poverty is a measure not only of children’s suffering but also of their dis-empowerment.”
Child poverty has a damaging effect on the the child’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual development. Child poverty here moves past the traditional definition of low household incomes or low levels of consumption. What is interesting to note is that the distinction between ‘child poverty’ and ‘poverty’ are hardly outlined clearly. Poverty places a strain on the life of any individual. However the overall negative effects are much higher in children.
Children experience poverty with their hands, hearts and minds. When a child starts their day without a nutritious meal or have to go engage in hazardous labour, this limits their emotional capacity, bodily growth and puts their health at risk. Children who live in an environment with little to none stimulation or emotional support can ruin the positive effects that growing up in a materially rich household. By limiting children’s participation and involvement in society their potential is inhibited.
With each generation, there is a possibility for change.
When children are given a chance to be educated, empowered and take part in society as equals, they are given all the skills and power to lift themselves out of poverty.
For more information have a look at: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s interactive world map outlining the incidence of Child Poverty throughout the world.
Your Child Poverty Advocate,