by Iqra Saeed

“The best among you are those who bring greatest benefits to many others.” – Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم (peace be upon him).

Children on the streets

How much do you know about Child Poverty Day? Is it something you often turn a blind eye to, only because your child is lucky enough to experience a ‘luxury’ that many of us take for granted? There is an increasing population of deprived children, both in the UK and abroad, who are becoming strangers to a fresh meal, a roof over their head, clean water or sufficient clothing. 

Look around you, and start to consider the underlying effects of child poverty today. The international day for the eradication of child poverty can be dated back to October 17th, 1987; on that day, 100,00 people gathered in the heart of Paris to honour victims who are suffering through hunger, fear and poverty, including a vast population of children.

Why is it so significant?

This event aims to raise awareness of the growing issue of poverty. It aims to honour victims of hunger, poverty, violence and fear which plays a crucial part in today’s society. 

Despite the embracing, thriving society we have successfully established today, ignorance in the hearts of people is the cause of this ongoing issue we are having to deal with. To say that the world’s 26 richest people own as much as 50% of the world’s poorest is nothing short of a disgrace. As a collective, with only 1% of their wealth, billionaires could give every child an education, and every mother and child free health care.  Therefore, this event is used as an opportunity to support dialogue between those in poverty, particularly children, and today’s society.

The global effect

In war-worn Yemen, Save the Children have estimated 11.3 million children are facing food shortages, 587,573 are facing acute malnutrition and 100,000 are on the brink of starvation. This really shows how much we are failing all these innocent children and if we intend on making a change, we need to start now. 

Save the children are calling for our communities to act fast and avoid a devastating, huge loss of life. – Saleh from Yemen said : “To be honest, life is hard, and work comes and goes. People are living in bad conditions, diseases are everywhere. My son was unwell, I thought he would die. I would bring him back and forth [to the clinic]. There was a fuel crisis, and I couldn’t afford transportation.” 

A recent disaster which fell in Pakistan, leaves further famine contributing to child poverty at the moment; one third of the country had been submerged in floods leaving 16 million children deeply affected. With a huge risk of water-borne diseases affecting children of all ages, Save the Children has so far reached over 11,000 people, including 5,800 children in response to the Swat Valley floods. Various communities in Pakistan have also gathered to show support and help the people of Swat, similarly their dedication should motivate ourselves into making a difference whether it be the smallest donation of £2 or helping to provide a hot meal to a child in need.

Photo by Ahmed Akacha on Pexels.com

The aftermath of Covid

Before the pandemic, poverty was already reaching new heights of severity; however, it was at its peak not only during the pandemic, but inflammation as an aftermath of Covid is another contribution to child poverty. In the height of the pandemic, Marcus Rashford MBE appealed to allow children, who would normally rely on free school meals, to be provided with vouchers/food packages at home. As someone who relied on free school meals himself as a child, Rashford was acutely aware of the impact hunger could have on a child’s development. Following this, the government announced that it will permanently allow children from families on low incomes access to free school meals, in a victory of Rashford’s child poverty campaign. 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, poverty remains as concerning as ever. The economic climate with rising interest rates accounting for inflation has affected both children and adults. This means that many families are having to live off one meal a day or worse, choose between food or heating during these cold, winter nights.

Make a difference

There are various ways to approach the issue of child poverty. Those with a faint understanding of child poverty must have a deeper insight to the effects this leaves on the child. Poverty in one’s childhood can have life-long consequences, as the poorest children are less likely to access health-care and complete their education, and more likely to suffer from poor nutrition and the toils this brings. 

To make a difference we must begin to consider the various ways we can start to help: Charities, peaceful protests, school bake-sales are just some of the ways we can raise awareness and ensure that the most pressing issues remain at the forefront of our collective social conscience.

Every voice and every penny counts.

“The best among you are those who bring greatest benefits to many others.” – Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم (peace be upon him).

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