What is child poverty? It is when a child fails to meet the minimum acceptable standard of life where that child lives. It applies to children that come from poor families or orphans being raised with limited or absent, state resources. In countries where these standards are lower the effects are more extreme. Child poverty is often measured when severe deprivation exists. It is based on levels of adequate nutri tion, safe drinking water, decent sanitation facilities, safety, health, shelter, education opportunities and the extent of fundamental freedoms available to all humans that include political freedoms, econo mic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security.
How many children are there who live in poverty today? Of the estimated 2.2-billion children world wide, about a billion, or every second child, live in poverty. Of the 1.9-billion children in developing nations, 640-million are without adequate shelter; 400-million are without access to safe water; 270-million have no access to health services. How many of them are left to wither and die of neglect? In 2012 alone, 10.9-million children died before reaching the age of five. 1.4-million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation while 2.2-million die each year due to lack of immunisations.
The majority of poverty-stricken children are born to parents who lack economic resources such as dis posable income. This condition severely restricts children’s opportunities and is not an exclusive phenomena found in poorer countries. Developed countries like New Zealand also have a serious problem. Economic and demographic factors like globalisation, residential segregation and labour market segmentation constrain economic opportunities and choices across generations as does paren tal unemployment, weak or inadequate government policies, high barriers to equal educational oppor tunities, social services, disabilities and discrimination which significantly affect the presence of child poverty.
‘Make Poverty History’ is the name of a global campaign to raise awareness about poverty and achieve policy change by governments. Though different campaigns exist in each country, these generally adopt goals found under the United Nations 8th Millennium Development Goal framework. While there is validity in setting common goals, progress towards achieving those goals by 2015 has been uneven and dismal. There still exists a wide gap in genuine collaboration between government and business organisations with smaller community groups and charitable organisations who seek support and funding to help enhance the lives of poor people at the coalface of their own local communities.
Apart from being unable to access funding channels and support, it is generally observed that smaller community groups and charitable organisations falter in maximising their impact on local community benefits for lack of developed programmes, tangible projects or activities, That they are inadequately articulated to highlight the work they do or want to do doesn’t help boost their profile and strength as charitable organisations or groups worth supporting. This is why SCOT Trust New Zealand places an equal measure of emphasis in developing and implementing its ‘hands up’ approach to child poverty intervention programmes and activities as it does communicating outcomes to communities it serves.
People from diverse Asian countries have only come to this country in significant numbers in the past 20-years. Estimates are that by 2026 there will be over 700,000 bilingual Asian New Zealanders growing up in this country. As economic ties with Britain have waned, the ascending economic power of China buttressed by the rise of leading countries of ASEAN in Southeast Asia have refocused New Zealand’s gaze to look towards Asia to ensure its future economic sustainability. It is a fast-evolving reality that will require our local businesses to engage this huge neighbouring region more proactively if they want to unleash the boundless opportunities available on store.
The work SCOT Trust undertakes here and overseas involve operating feeding and food programmes; establishing child vocational and career training in seven established centres; giving instruction on correct life choices; setting up sponsored educational school scholarships; coaching and mentoring scholars to succeed; providing fun-based activities not able to be accessed by the young people and educating families on life skills. More recently, it is actively networking and seeking collaborations with Kiwi business organisations that want to leverage off SCOT’s contacts platform which contains detailed market knowledge of most of the 10 Southeast Asian country members of ASEAN.
We all have a stake in working for the welfare and well-being of all children and particularly those who are uneducated, poor and hungry because they also belong to the next generation of citizens who deserve a much brighter and better future. This is our precious legacy to them. Addressing the basic needs, urgent issues and serious challenges facing children and protecting them from ignorance, hunger, abuse, exploitation and violence would require that charitable organisations such as SCOT Trust New Zealand develop closer partnership and extensive collaboration between governments and business at the local, regional and international levels. This is who we are and what we’d like to do.
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