Child poverty in the USA is estimated in the range between 15% and 23%. How many of these will end up living in poverty is still not clear. World child poverty is said to be around 50% amounting to almost 1 billion children. One in three do not have adequate shelter while one in five are deprived of clean drinking water. One in seven do not have access to adequate health care. 1.4 million die every year for the lack of drinking water and proper sanitation. [Source: Global Issues, The Human Development Report, 2012]
Many families do cycle into and out of poverty through time. Others remain poor throughout their lives. Persistent poverty among children is something of great concern as the cumulative effect of being raised poor usually leads to extremely negative outcomes and very limited opportunities.
While I was watching the six clips of the well articulated and Oscar winning documentary, "Born into Brothels" (2004) filmed in Calcutta, on Youtube last week, it dawned on me that these kids who are subject to this form of life have very little hope of making any mark on a reasonably decent future fr themselves. The full movie can be seen at this link.
Ross Kaufman and Zana Birski have delivered a glaring view into how these poor kids, born into brothels in Calcutta, live and survive the daily rigors of life, themselves being drawn into prostitution as they grow older. Whole generations of grand mothers, mothers and daughters take to the red light district once trapped in this quagmire.
Reading the email that came through this week related to an old school mate, a few years junior to us, who was seen on the pavements of Colombo, it struck me that this could have easily been any one of us. We are, no doubt, privileged that we never had to take that route and have been able to stay clear of this menace that humanity thrusts upon so many millions across the globe.
"Why this poverty", one may ask? Pundits and researchers may come up with a 1,001 answers and methods to resolve them. Has it got better or worse through time? Science and technology has developed to great strengths and levels. Yet, suffering has still not ceased.
While most of us must be involved in some form of poverty alleviation at simple levels within the environments that surround us there are many others who just dont give a damn. And life goes on.