"why should I be the one who must help?"
No doubt, children suffer most from the cost of poverty. Children, more than ever before are homeless, and are often turned away by public schools because they lack permanent addresses, proof of age and immunisation records. They can hardly find the next scrap of food to eat.
- The Consequences Of Poverty
- THE Destructive Effects Of Poverty On Society
- Those Who Are Forced To Leave Their Countries
- Sad Statistics
The Consequences Of Poverty
In the former socialist countries we see another dimension of poverty: the living standards of almost all individuals are low, independently of Noteworthy conditions unlike as in developed and third world countries. In these countries, there is a Universal poverty influencing almost all of the population. Consequences of poverty have an overall impact over the whole country. The infrastructure of cities and the group defense systems prove to be derisory, for instance, food is scarce. Unlike most countries, even if you can afford it, food and wares are simply not available in the marketplace.
It is possible to list many reasons accounting for poverty. However, it would be more helpful to discuss the impact of poverty on society and ways to eradicate it. In the following paragraphs, problems pertaining to poverty are discussed in broad terms, aimed at evoking slumbering gifts of charity.
Right now, where ever you are, just pause for a moment with what you are busy with and think, at this moment somewhere, millions of people, kids, are sleeping on the streets. Regardless of who or where you are, you were a child once, could you imagine for one moment, falling asleep in soaking, driving rain, a threadbare, dirty Tshirt clinging to your drenched back in the freezing cold and that terible gnawing hunger pain in the pit of your stomach.
The nourishment of the stale sandwich from the dumpster some fifteen hours ago, long since expended. You are nine years old, somewhat street smart, but a kid no less. No bedtime story tonight or a good night kiss from a Mamma and Pappa. If everyone in the world acted conscientiously, this sad scene, often romanticized through the stories like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, would come to a crashing end. No one has the right to disclaim accountability, saying, "why should I be the one who must help?"
Mostly, children are forced to work under difficult conditions. In some countries, children are even sold by their families to workplaces as "slaves".
For the most part, these children earn little money, if at all, in the most health-hostile environments imaginable that have frequently been proven lethal in many cases. The population of India is 940 million and there are 44-100 million child workers in the country - more than the total number of working children in the rest of the world. In Pakistan, a country with a population of 120 million, there are approximately 8 million working children. The sad state of poor children is no different in the rest of the world.
Not only Indian children shoulder great burdens. All over the world, many people spend their childhood working. All over the world we are familiar with the situation of underage children forced to work, and the harsh conditions surrounding them in the workplace. Despite this, however, rather than bringing these children the social services and educational support so essential to their development, these countries are sadly more concerned about the competitiveness of their economies with the cheap products produced by their child-slave workforce. In their meetings, they even discuss how to increase their competitiveness and not how to save these children.
Many countries in the world allocate important portions of their budgets to defense. India and Pakistan, countries where education, health and industry call for urgent reform, are no exceptions. For instance, Pakistan allocates 60% of its budget to armaments and to defence spending. That the majority of the public is blighted by poverty does not alter the situation in Pakistan. Nuclear armament spending in the USA is 35 billion dollars a year. From 1946, the year when programmes linked to the atom bomb were initiated, until the year 1996, approximately 5.5 trillion dollars were spent.
No doubt, these budgets allocated to defense and armaments could simply be offered to bring relief to the problems of poverty-stricken families. However, despite the fact that the lives of little children are at stake, political concerns and calculations of vested interests have long hindered the development of viable solutions to these problems.
One country's recent budget speach deserves special mention here: under the following conditions, defence spending is unavoidable. Because disbelief brings more conflicts, chaos, outrages and violence, it seems that these problems will persist. Therefore, a country will have to rely on her defence to maintain its existence.
THE Destructive Effects Of Poverty On Society
Children will be forced to work as long as people do not acquire the wisdom and conscience that religion brings.
However, misery is everywhere. Evidently delivering speeches on problems will not produce any solutions. Nor will merely avoiding side-stepping, begging kids and giving charity. Co-ordination of regular programs addressing the educational, health, shelter and clothing needs of poor people is essential, paramount even.
This is only possible, however, through the sensitivity which people will develop when living with faith again. Nurturing and caring values will once again ensure a peaceful environment which will make countries sensitive enough not to violate other countries' rights through greed. Consequently, defense spending can be limited and the resources allocated to them can be invested in related fields to secure welfare, peace and quality education and health-care for the needy.
Defense spending is only one example of many other similar solutions that can be provided. As in all other issues, it is essential to see that the solution lies in living by tried and trusted spiritual values. That is because only a person endowed with the values of true faith could share their food with the needy or an orphan, even when he, himself, is hungry, aware only of the words: "Here, but for the grace of God go I." By the same token, that person is also the one who does not offer things he dislikes to others, and he is also the one who offers help without demanding anything in return. In several texts, the various religious books explain, how wealthy people should conduct themselves:
Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should make oaths that they will give to their poor relatives and the very poor at large and also those who have left the comfort of their own homes in the true service of God, providing care and relief to homeless children and the aged.
Pakistan and India are only two of the many countries where the majority of the people are blighted by poverty.
Allah, in the Qur'an, explains how the wealthy should address the needs of the poor. For instance, Allah says that some portion of the properties of the wealthy belongs to the poor. Charity is for the poor who are held back.
In the service of God, whatever good you give away,God knows it.
Those Who Are Forced To Leave Their Countries
One of the important consequences of world poverty is the migrant problem. Hope for better job opportunities or better living standards or struggle and scarcity have produced mass displacements, thereby causing serious conflicts between countries.
The flow of refugees from third world countries was initially favoured by many host countries, and was originally arranged through high-level international treaties in order to provide a cheap supply of labour to the west. The low wages paid to alien workers and their readiness to work under difficult conditions accounted for this ready acceptance. Indeed, for a long time, foreign workers contributed enormously to the economies of many countries, building railroads, harvesting crops and mining resources but in time, as these countries attained economic stability and welfare, they no longer required the foreign workforce and tended to employ their own citizens.
Malaysia, for instance, forced skilled foreign workers within her borders to leave. These people, who arrived in Malaysia with the hope of a better life, had to return to their home countries after many years of service.
The reasons for dislocation are not restricted to the desire for better living conditions. Struggles between countries also produce dislocations. In a country devastated by post-war poverty, a majority of the population can be uprooted. When witnessing the plight of people fleeing from war, very few countries still show a willingness to accept refugees. In freezing cold or blistering heat, refugees in need of re-settlement walk for weeks toward a destination they hope to be Reliable but are frequently not admitted.
In March 1998, the dislocation experienced by more than 300,000 Kosovar refugees left almost all the cities of Kosovo desolate. Meanwhile, severe cold caused the loss of many lives during the flight.
In November 1990, Chechens who fled from Russian attacks sought shelter in neighbouring countries, on foot but these countries have now tightened border controls and set rules of transit, showing their reluctance to host any Chechens. By the time the refugees arrived at the Turkish border where they were finally admitted, many women, children and elderly people had expired from the bitter cold.
The values contained in the very foundations of faith, lay in an entirely different social structure then. In that structure, the rights of the poor and of those forced from their homes are protected. All means were used to prepare better circumstances for them and to lessen their pain. For this reason, many people of that time, did not avoid making sacrifices.
There are those, still today, from all walks of life, who heed the call of the needy and down trodden and who do not count the cost of their service to their poorer brothers and sisters wherever they may be. Are you one of them, then know this, that God our almighty father sees this and loves you all the more for it, since you also will have discovered the one true reason for man's existence on earth in the first place.
In Africa, conflicts between tribes are responsible for the flight of tens of thousands of people. In Zaire, the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis is an example. These displaced persons suffered from starvation and epidemics. They tried to take Asylum in other countries but they were usually not admitted.
The values contained in the Holy books , laid the foundation for a totally different collective structure. In that structure as mentioned, the rights of the poor and of those forced from their homes were protected. All means were used to prepare better conditions for them and to lessen their pain. For that noblest of causes, people did not avoid making sacrifices. This value structure was most apparent in the attitudes of believers towards those, who willingly had left their homes for God's cause:
It is the people who are safe-guarded from the Avariciousness of their own selves who are successful at caring for life's poor fugitives who were driven from their homes and wealth, People desiring the favour of God by supporting His true "messengers", the poor and down trodden. Such people are the meek inheritors of the earth.
Obviously, from the above values depicted, People in general, today, are a far cry from those, who, when requested to help, always responded with bounty and benevolence. Believers rendered the most thorough help to those in need. While giving assistance to the needy, It was demanded that the provider not display any moral weakness such as expressing his own needs or to setting his eye on the aid provided. These ancient values brought solutions to many problems.
Today, poverty is no longer a problem restricted to some particular countries. The world agenda is dominated by children who make their living on streets collecting trash, who spend freezing nights out on the streets and have dangerous jobs in return for which they receive little money, risking their lives. So much of the world is not safe from child deaths, stemming from malnutrition and other poverty-linked problems.
Statistics on poverty and on street children alone reveal the serious dimensions of the situation.
In 1982, UNESCO reported 200,000 street children in Istanbul, 10,000 in Bogota, and 2 million in Rio de Janeiro. In Africa, this figure is estimated to be 5 million and is steadily increasing. Civic dislocations and wars, scarcity, AIDS and rapid urbanisation are factors increasing the number of street children. Around the world, 30 to 70 million street children are homeless on any given night.5
In South Africa, although an unpresidented outreach initiative towards orphaned and homeless children is starting to take shape among the more affluent members of the general populace, the stark reality is that no fewer than 3million kids are living either on the streets of our major towns and cities every day, or who are living in some ramshackle semblence of a home, do so, living under the breadline or in very poor conditions.
In America, the number of children living in poverty tripled in only two decades. In 1989 one of every six children in America were officially recognised to live in very poor conditions. In 1993, one in every five children younger than 6 years old was living in very poor conditions - more than 5 million children. In 1994, one of every four children under three years old was estimated to be living on the breadline. In 1980, this figure increased from 1.8 million to 2.3 million.6
As the statistics above suggest, even the developed world is not immune from poverty. The unemployment from economic depressions and inadequacy of social security systems are, by and large, responsible for this poverty.
Never throughout history has there been a time when there has not been a devastating famine in some part of the world. In our lifetime, widespread starvation in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America has taken the lives of millions of men, women and children. We know that somewhere, this year, there will be a new famine-the result of war or a major national catastrophe such as Haiti and Japan. Already there is starvation Somalia and in the Sahel area south of the Sahara, and the threat of renewed serious crop failure in the Indian subcontinent. If you ever wondered whether you should make even the smallest offering of your time towards a lesser of yourself, then wonder no more. Now is that moment to reach out and discover what real living is all about. Just find that aid center in your area and do something, you will instantly become profoundly aware of how much your help is needed. This is the "AHA" moment of your life. (courtesy of Oprah Winfrey)
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