How can YOU help to end Child Poverty

Looking for new ways to help eliminate poverty in Australia? Well, today, we will be moving in a different direction by finding out what we can do in our local community to help these disadvantaged children. There are many charities, not-for profits and organisations that are dedicated to helping families and children struck by poverty. We are going to mention some of these organisations and how you can get involved and help in this amazing cause.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Society

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The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has more than 40,000 members and volunteers, “who work hard to assist people in need and combat social justice across Australia. “Donating money is one of the most common ways to help out but there are other ways to participate. Organising a fundraiser in school or just raising money through monthly mufti days can go a long way in helping. In almost every neighborhood there is a Vinnies store where you can donate old clothes, shoes, books, toys, etc. If you want to get more involved why not volunteer or try to work at the Vinnies.

The Smith Family 

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Specifically dedicated to helping children facing poverty, The Smith Family is a children’s charity that helps disadvantaged Australia children to get the most out of their education so that they can create better future for themselves. Helping these children could mean donating old toys, books and games in their annual Christmas Toy& Book Appeal or giving away your old or unwanted clothes. Getting involved is simple: either donate money to the organisation, shop in their stores or volunteer to work for the Smith Family.

Salvation Army

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Most famous for their Red Shield Appeal, The Salvation Army works hard every year to try and help the most needy in Australia. By supporting the Red Shield Appeal you are helping to change a life before it becomes a lifetime, assisting someone to break the cycle of homelessness. There are currently more than 105,000 people in Australia who currently don’t have a secure and safe place to live. This year, on September 18th they organised ‘The Couch Project’ to help bring awareness of youth homelessness. You can get involved through volunteering, corporate support and fundraising at your school.

Oxfam Australia 

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Not unlike the Vinnies, Oxfam Australia  also have stores around the community where you can donate clothes, shoes, toys, etc. The money spent at these stores goes towards helping disadvantaged families and children. There are many ways to get involved in Oxfam by either volunteering in one of their stores, fundraising events and blogging for their cause. As a volunteer you can join a Oxfam group and help out in your community.

Brotherhood of St. Laurence 

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The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is an organisation committed to working for an Australia that is free of poverty. The Brotherhood offer many opportunities for young people and families to help disadvantaged families get through rough times. They have schools and scholarship programs dedicated to educating and helping young people obtain jobs. Getting involved with the Brotherhood is as simple as donating money or time towards volunteering for the Brotherhood.

Getting involved is simple! Start today by supporting any of these great organisations!

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

From Poverty to Power: Six celebrities who grew up poor

When we think of our favourite celebrities it is hard to imagine them having a life that is anything but glamorous. However, many celebrities overcame many trials and tribulations before they become famous and rich. These individuals are proof  that even if you are born into a ‘bad situation’ that people have the potential to pull themselves out of poverty. These actors, musicians,TV hosts and writers all grew up in poor or poverty stricken circumstances. Many of them struggled to obtain proper shelter and during their formative years. Our list of five celebrities who went from rags to riches:

Leighton Meester

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Normally the Queen B of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as an affluent teenager on the CW show ‘Gossip Girl’, Meester’s childhood couldn’t be further away from the privileged life that she portrayed as Blair Waldorf. Her mother who was pregnant with Meester at the time, went to jail for drug trafficking. She gave birth to Meester in a hospital and nursed her in a halfway house before returning to prison.

Jim Carey

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Known for his comedic roles in movies like Dumb & Dumber, Yes Man and Liar Liar. Before all this, he went through a rough childhood. While his first few years were happy but this all changed when he became a teenager when his father lost his job. Carey said on Inside the Actors Studio, “When he lost his job that’s when everything fell apart. We went from ‘lower middle class’ to ‘poor.’ We were living out of a van. I quit school at age 15 to begin working to help support my family as a janitor.” Despite all that, Carey went on to have a successful career in the entertainment industry.

J.K. Rowling

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Best known for writing the “Harry Potter” series, J.K Rowling began her career as a struggling, single mother who was living off handouts from the government. She found inspiration while delayed on a train for 4 hours. It was there that she turned something mundane into something magical.  With a seven book series, eight films and a copious amount of toys and games, it has made her into a billionaire.

Leonardo DiCaprio 

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‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘ star wasn’t always a wealthy actor/playboy/mogul. Originally he started out by living in poverty in Hollywood where he was constantly surrounded by criminals and shady characters. He was raised in Los Angeles, California, where his mother worked two jobs to support her and her son. DiCaprio told The Independent  that there was a “major prostitution ring on my street corner, crime and violence everywhere.” Later on in his life he also battled homelessness for a time before catching his first big break.

Sarah Jessica Parker

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This  Emmy Award winning actress dealt with the effects of poverty at a young age. Parker’s mother always had a steady job however she was one of eight and supporting that many children was always a struggle. Parker told The New York Times that “We were on welfare. I remember being poor. There was no way to hide it. We didn’t have electricity sometimes.”

Mark Walhberg 

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The Fighter’ star started out as a common street rat. He dropped out of school at just 14 years old and took to a life of petty crime. After serving jail sentence for assault, he got his life on track and got a record deal. He went on to become a big-time actor and starring in many blockbusters such as the most recent “Transformers” film, which grossed over $100 million in its opening weekend.

All these celebrities faced poverty at a young age and came out of it with help from people, communities and the government.

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

The World vs. Poverty

Today, Saturday 17th October is the UN’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Less than a month after the adoption of the UN’s new sustainable development goals, this 2015 occasion helps to establish the UN’s new agenda for the world. This new agenda replaces the Millennium Development Goals and outlines 17 new and ambitious goals for the world.

The Number 1 goal of the UN being to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.”

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But what does poverty actually mean? Well let me paint a picture for you with 11 astonishing facts about global poverty:

  1. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
  2. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  3. 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Food banks are especially important in providing food for people that can’t afford it themselves.
  4. More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.
  5. In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
  6. Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment
  7. As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
  8. 1/4 of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people
  9. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.
  10. Oxfam estimates that it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty–that’s less than 1/4 the income of the top 100 richest billionaires.
  11. The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

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The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been around since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly, designated that this day would promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty in all countries.

“On this day we recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty — and plan for a world where no-one is left behind. Our aim must be prosperity for all, not just a few.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Eliminating poverty still remains at the core of both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and was essential in the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

TOGETHER we need to tackle the issue of poverty and inequality around the world!

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

Join the fight against Poverty!

Today, marks the halfway point in the nation’s Anti-Poverty Week from 11th- 17th October. Anti- Poverty Week is a national scheme aimed at encouraging all Australians to organise or to take part in an activity that will highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship across Australia and overseas. It was established in Australia to work in correlation with the UN’s annual International Anti-Poverty Day on October 17th.

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The main aims of Anti-Poverty week is to:

  • Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and
  • Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

“Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians. Around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor. In Anti-Poverty Week, YOU can help fight poverty and hardship!”

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Do you think you could live off $18 a day? Well if you can’t imagine any person or child living like that then join the fight against poverty by getting involved in Anti-Poverty Week 2015.

It doesn’t matter who you work for or what you do! Just create or take part in an activity/ event and YOU can help to raise awareness of the prevalence of poverty and inequality in Australia.

Whether you are a welfare group, health organisations, religious groups, community organisation, community organisations, schools and youth groups. YOU can take part and MAKE a difference in the lives of these people.

Have a look at the Anti-Poverty Week 2015’s Calendar for ideas and events to take part in!

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

How did the recession affect Australia’s Child Poverty rate?

During the Global Financial Crisis  (GFC) in 2008, the economies of most countries entered into a recession. The number of children that entered into poverty during the recession was 2.6 million higher than the number that have been able to escape it since 2008 (6.6 million, versus 4 million).  According to UNICEF around 76.5 million children live in poverty in the 41 most affluent countries around the world.

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“Countries should place the well-being of children at the top of their responses to the recession. not only is this a moral obligation but it is in the self-interest of societies.”

After the recession, Australia’s NEET Rate which is the percentage of young people aged 15-24 why are currently not participating in education, employment or training increased.

The NEET rate went from 9.9 in 2008 to 12.2 in 2013.  High NEET rates suggest an interrupted transition from school to work, or from school onto further education, with long-term individual and societal costs. An increase in the NEET rate reflects the recession’s impact on the generation of young people. Compared to their parents these children have started loosing their chance for a productive adulthood.

The recession made it difficult for parents with children to get employed, pay their bills and mortgages. Children rarely manage to avoid the stress and suffering that is felt by the parents who endure unemployment or a significant reduction in income. Children face the downturns of family fortunes in multiple ways: both subtly and in painfully evident ways.

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Imagine a child who suffers from slight and major humiliations in front of their friends and classmates. A child who aren’t able to afford buying school materials, can’t take part in after-school sport activities, play musical instruments or take part in other extra-curricular activities. In extreme circumstances, these children and their families can be forced to leave their homes and countries.

Poverty is a self-reinforcing vicious cycle.

A child with unemployed parents might not do as well at school. When this child isn’t able to do well in school, this might bring more stress back home. And on and on it goes…

The longer any child is locked in this cycle, the less chances they have to escape it.that is why we need to address this issue NOW!

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

The impact of Child Poverty

Child poverty has detrimental effects on not just children, but their families and society as a whole. Poverty is not only something that affects individuals financially, despite the lack of money being a huge contributing factor to poverty. Child poverty can mean that children miss out on normal activities and face isolation and exclusion as a result of it. These children lack a secure home and this can affect the child’ development and health.

These impacts can have long-term consequences for the education, employment and economic security of these children when they become adults. These long-term effects are likely to become greater if the child has experienced poverty for a long time. The negative impact of poverty can also be profound if it is experienced in the early years of childhood life. The outcome for these children can be more harmful if the child comes from a low income family, combined with other disadvantages such as: limited parental education and family conflict.

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Poverty for children and their families can lead to  social exclusion because of their inability to gain employment to material source, health, safety and education. Research from the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence and Melbourne University found that 5% of Australians face “deep social exclusion” and another 1% face “very deep social exclusion.”

Research released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) found that 4% – 6% of Australians – that’s between 1 and 1.5 million of us- live in poverty, without any possibility of escaping it.

The CEDA report uses a combination of two other methods to come up with its million-person figure.  Firstly, they look at the “deprivation” approach which considers whether people have access to necessary goods and services.

A 2010 survey found that 18% of Australians did not have up to $500 in their savings accounts in case of an emergency. Thirteen per cent of adults and parents could not afford dental treatment if they needed it, while 8% of them did not have enough for an annual trip to the dentist for their children. In these families, 10% do not have home and contents insurance and 20% of them aren’t able to afford a week’s holiday away from home each year.

No Australian deserves to live like this.

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti

What causes Poverty?

“Relative poverty defines poverty in relation to the economic status of other members of the society: people are poor if they fall below prevailing standards of living in a given societal context.” – UNESCO

In countries such as Australia, poverty is not caused by the same factors as those in third world countries. It is important that we need to understand that poverty and homelessness is not a choice. Poverty can be caused by a whole range of factors. When people face unemployment, high mortgage rates, increasing rent prices and persistent inequality in society, these factors can ultimately lead to poverty.

Often children facing poverty live in a single-parent income household, where one parent has to take care of 1 or more children and themselves on a weekly income of $400. A lot of the times, if these single parents are women they could also be facing gender inequality issues regarding their pay rates. Supporting yourself and your family can be hard enough as it is but when you have to pay bills, a mortgage/rent, and provide basic needs for yourself and your child.

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According to Allison McClellan’s research  ‘No Child: Child Poverty in Australia’, the reasons for child poverty and inequality in Australia. Children at great risk of poverty include:

  • Indigenous Australian children,
  • The children of sole-parent families,
  • Children where no parent is in paid work,
  • Children where the prime source of income is government income support,
  • Children in public or private rental accommodation, and
  • Children with parents from certain non-English speaking backgrounds

With a new Liberal Government in place in Australia, the government needs to examine the reasons behind why poverty and child poverty in particular is so prevalent. Government incentives, welfare benefits and price ceilings can be placed in particular areas to help disadvantaged families and children. Housing costs and availability still play a critical role in child poverty. The declining role of public housing has also influenced the rising rate of Child Poverty. The availability of low-cost rental accommodation has reduced while levels of evictions have been increasing. Inefficient income support payments. Rent Assistance and Child Support Schemes need to be altered to help families cope with the pressures of modern day life.

Your Child Poverty Advocate,

Shrishti