Everyones Responsibility - You Can Save Children and Change the Future - Non-Profit

Everyone's Responsibility - You Can Save Children and Change the Future   by Jeremy Smith

in Non-Profit    (submitted 2010-06-08)

A friend was saying how upsetting it was to see pictures of starving children in charity appeals. "I just can't bear to look," she said. "What can any of us do, anyway?" So whenever images of malnourished children appeared on television or newspapers or in the mail, she flicked channels, turned the page, or threw the mail in the trash. "It breaks my heart," she said. "But I can't take the whole world on my shoulders."

So, best to do nothing then? "Sure," she said. "We can't change a thing so why try?"

The problems of the developing world can seem overwhelming at times. Drought, famine, wars and disease come in unrelenting waves. Just when one set of problems seems to be easing - slam - another humanitarian crisis erupts. An earthquake. A harvest failure. A war. The focus changes but not the victims. These are so often the most vulnerable children. They are sick, starving, without shelter, clean water or hope. It is easy to turn away and say, "How terrible. But it's not my problem."

If we have any claim to humanity, however, it is our problem. It is everyone's responsibility - you can save children and change the world.

According to UNICEF, at least 80 percent of the world's population lives on less than $10 a day. In parts of Africa, that figure drops to just $1 a day. Nearly half the world's 2.2 billion children live in poverty. Of those, 24,000 die each day because of sickness or starvation. In some of the poorest countries, one in five children dies before age 5.

We in the West are much more fortunate. Few of us have ever known real hunger or deprivation. We have our own sorrows and difficulties, but, thank God, we (and our children) more often than not have food, clean water, shelter and medicine.

We know an important part of Christian faith is to care for the needy. As it says in the New Testament: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth" (John 3:17-18, NIV).

Also, in this "global village" of ours, don't we have a collective responsibility to support those most in need? At the first Human Solidarity Day in December 2006, U.N. officials pointed out that not only should everyone be joining together to help the poorest people but we should also find ways to break the poverty cycle.

Crucially, every little bit helps. Every cent adds up. Every action spreads a little ripple. Every prayer is heard. We can each act as advocates for those little ones without a voice. We can demand more effective political action. We can learn more about the causes of world poverty and how it is best addressed. We can donate, raise funds, and support both our church groups and international support groups. We can make a very real difference to an individual child through child sponsorship. A child can be fed, made well and educated through our personal efforts.

And we can tell others within our sphere of influence that child poverty isn't someone else's problem. It's ours, too. And we can make a difference.