Our challenge – Eradicate child poverty

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“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Nelson Mandela, (1918 – ) First South African President and Inspirational Leader

There are times when you watch something on television so profound that it just pulls at your inner being. On 7th June, something very similar happened. I usually record my television programmes and watch them as I get time but on this particular occasion, I was browsing and came across BBC’s programme, Poor Kids.

For readers outside the UK, who cannot view the programme on BBC iplayer, please visit Jezza Neuman’s blog, titled Poor Kids: A child’s view of growing up in poverty

Journalists often get slated for all sorts of reasons but here was proof of true journalism and its power to present facts in an innovative way through poor children’s eyes and the effects of poverty on children, as they view them. The programme’s innovative approach of presenting key facts all through the programme and the children’s viewpoint was not only moving but heart wrenching. How could we as a society, let this happen?

I usually blog on a variety of topics within business/IT management and technology, while occasionally covering topics that I feel I should cover, such as Nurturing future IT Professionals and leaders and a ComputerWeekly reader’s response, Boring’ label shows industry is ignorant about GCSE ICT.

This time it was different, compared to the ones above. Having witnessed the power of individual’s in the Middle East, I want to do something about it and play my part, in eradicating child poverty, from the UK and indeed globally. Over many years, since I was a kid, I have heard from successive governments and organisations such as Unicef that they have these wonderful five, ten, twenty year plans to eradicate child poverty, yet having grown up listening to these promises, the fact is that child poverty still exists. I cannot eradicate child poverty on my own but if enough people raise their voice against it, even as individuals, it will happen. It is unacceptable to me as a Brit to have child poverty within the UK, in 2011. What should we do to eradicate child poverty? I present my answer below followed by facts that support my hypothesis. My hope is that other bloggers, social media groups and charities can join me in ‘Action’ rather than compiling mere documents, strategies and Acts that have no effect on child poverty. The floor is yours, as they say….

The simple plan to eradicate child poverty (within the UK):

  1. International aid: One of my readers, found it quite ironic that, “We spend millions of public money on the olympic games when we cannot pay for families wo are on the bread line (or below) to live in decent housing stock”. Anyway, we have to reduce International aid, to countries such as Pakistan (£600 million in 2010/11). This cannot be justified when 3.5 million UK children suffer from child poverty. I recognise and accept the UK’s role to support other nations that need our support (My parents were from Pakistan). I cannot justify that aid when I am not shown any accountability as a UK citizen on where and how that money is spent (the UK government is knowledgeable about the rampant corruption among government officials). Especially, when their PM orders a custom built Range Rover and Rolls Royce Phantom (£800k) & pays no tax on any income for that year and one of their richest citizens (who is also an ex PM and current minister), pays only Rs 5000 (£50) in taxes annually (Source ARY News Channel report, Off the record programme on YouTube, titled – Kashif Abbasi, Off the Record, No Tax from Pakistan leaders – IN URDU UNFORTUNATELY). This is while child poverty within Pakistan is probably in figures that would eclipse UK figures!
  2. School Uniform: As highlighted by the programme, the child was wearing his sister’s shirt as his family could not afford the school uniform. This opened the floodgates for ridicule by fellow pupils. School uniform in schools is quite expensive and ranges from approx £15 – £70). Poor families cannot afford these costs and are sometimes reluctant to admit that they cannot afford them. Let’s help these families to keep their ‘self-respect’ by abolishing individual School uniforms across the UK, replaced by a national standardised school uniform available at a standard cost across the country.
  3. Child Vouchers: In addition to the school uniform suggestion above, redistribute a proportionate amount of the International aid (or all of it) in child care vouchers for school uniforms (if the suggestion above is not acceptable) and/or clothes. These vouchers can only be used for clothes.
  4. School curriculum: The national school curriculum, although standardised is taught with a great deal of variety and subject availability, across the UK. Some schools are better than others and are graded every 5 years approximately. Leadership, inspirational  and aspirational aspects are alluded to by some schools, while in others there is a severe lack of these aspects. In order for these schools to produce the future of our country, these three elements need to be incorporated within the curriculum. Curriculum and subject availability standards need to be taught and raised to those expected from private schools. Teachers salaries need to be raised as currently the best pupils end up in the private and public sector and the teaching profession is only chosen by either very special individuals who have aspired to become teachers or who cannot get many other jobs.
  5. After school classes: These should be available on a ‘needs’ basis, regardless of whether one student requires assistance or whether many do. Poorer students are usually the ones that need additional support but additional support for these children, is currently unavailable.
  6. University fees: Many students from poorer or middle class backgrounds will not go to university if they have to pay fees. We need to support our country by producing the people required to manage our country in the future. We will experience extensive brain drain, as we lose our students to foreign universities, after all, if university fees have to be paid, students may choose to go abroad and never return! According to the BBC, “History professor Robert Gildea (Oxford university) said the changes to university funding were “reckless, incoherent and incompetent”.Professor Gildea warned the changes would turn the university system into a “red carpet for the rich” which would take Oxford “back to Brideshead”.
  7. Employment opportunities: Poorer children’s parents need to be supported by the wider community and that cannot be done by government alone. A quota system should be created for every organisation (over a certain size), where priority MUST be given to ‘poorer families/unemployed’ including the chance to cross train.

APPENDIX OF FACTS

FACT ONE:

We, as a society, have become experts at compiling documents on child poverty, that run into hundreds of pages that are either discussed until no more discussion can happen and then both the document and the will of the people and organisations to orchestrate and meet the objective of eradicating child poverty, just dies. When I was researching this article, I have come across child poverty acts and strategies (View links at the end of the post) written by the public sector (UK Govt) and charities, yet I remain convinced that none of these will make an aorta of difference. The reason, I am convinced is backed by facts and the fact that once government is involved, they are experts at writing reports and lack the will for action, due to their bureaucracy.

Tom Peters, sums up very well the problem of inertia. “The magnitude of potential simplification is ….staggering.

Jim Champy, co-author along with Michael Hammer of the bible on reengineering (titled Reengineering the corporation), keeps executive audiences enthralled as he recounts tale after tale after horrid tale of critical business processes gone to flab. Consider a process for verifying an insurance claim. It takes 23 working days. Yet when Champy looks inside with an electron microscope, he discovers that, literally, 17 minutes of actual work are performed. The rest is all about scraps of paper flying (crawling is more like it) from here to there. Sitting on Desks. Unnecessary complications to forms to be filled out. And initialled. And initialled again. And so on.

Yes, it is that bad.

23 days.

17 minutes”. Excerpt from Re-Imagine, Tom Peters, page 156

FACT 2:

Facts courtesy of BBC programme, Poor Kids

  • 3.5 million children live in poverty within the UK.
  • Out of 12 Rich countries studied, kids in the UK have the lowest chance of escaping poverty.
  • In November 2010, the UK came 18th out of 22 European countries ranked by Unicef for Child Poverty. Only Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Italy were lower.
  • Child poverty under current policies is set to rise 11% in the next 3 years.
  • Poor children are 2½ times more likely to suffer chronic illness.
  • 85% of children living in damp flats suffer breathing problems.
  • 47% of children with asthma are from the poorest 10% of families.
  • Poor kids are 5 times less likely to have access to a safe outdoor play space than rich kids.
  • Credit Interest and higher fuel charges cost poor families an extra £1,280 per year.
  • Poor Kids director Jezza Neumann on the lack of hope for the children he spoke to: “I believe so many of the children we met while making the film could go on to great things in life, if given the right chances.”
  • Save the Children, who worked with the makers of Poor Kids, warns the number of children living in poverty is expected to rise over the next couple of years.
  • Recent research by the OECD revealed that children growing up in poverty in the UK are the least likely to be able to escape deprivation compared to children in other rich countries.

FACT 3:

Facts, courtesy of Time Magazine, 16/5/11 and how they relate to child poverty and Education:

  • By the age of 3, a poorer child tends to lag his wealthier equivalent in terms of personal development by 12 months.
  • At 18, the rich kid, who, like a mere 7% of Briton’s, has enjoyed the benefits of a private education, is 6 times as likely to go to university and 55 times as likely to get into Oxford or Cambridge.
  • More than 60% of the 29 Ministers around the Cabinet table were privately educated, and as many as 7 in 10 Ministers are alumni of Oxford or Cambridge.

FACT 4:

I have included below, a comment that highlights the reality of child poverty by covering a real situation where government guidelines fail children. Similar situations can happen for many reasons including the fact that parents maybe on the threshold of poverty but may not actually declare that to the authorities, as they may for example, be in denial as a result of for example, a recent redundancy or job loss.

A comment from Jezza Neumann’s blog: At 18:47 7th Jun 2011, Boilerbill wrote:

“When I was a teacher in a large school in South Bristol, there was one 11 year old girl in my tutor group who was always late. One day, on her return to school after one of her rare weeks off (on reflection I should have noticed that she was off for a week, never for the odd day, but there was always a letter), she said to me, “My Dad loves me really.” By chance a social worker was talking to the Head of Year. I told her about this rather strange comment. She said that she would see what she could find out.

The result. As I knew already, this girl walk across a mile of derelict ground to get to school. But every morning she took her 3 younger siblings to their Primary School – they were always on time in clean clothing. But it turned out that at home the girl would be given money every day to cook for and feed the family. If the meal wasn’t ready when her parents wanted feeding she got beaten (explains the absences). The children all ended up in care.

But my point is that this problem had remained hidden. The primary school (which had a good record at identifying children at risk) didn’t notice any particular problem. When the girl was in my school she was hard working in lessons, showing none of the indicators we had been asked to look out for. She was skilled at covering up what was happening in her life.
How do you find these children? They are all around us”.

I would like to end this post with a poem by Khalil Gibran, titled – Your Children are not your children:

Your Children are not Your Children

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Further Info

UK Department for Work and Pensions – Child poverty policy

UK Department for Education – Child Poverty Strategy

UK Department for Education – A new approach to child poverty – Tackling the causes of disadvantage and transforming families lives

UK Legislation.gov.uk – Child poverty Act 2010

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Education and poverty in the spending review

BBC News – Main site for Education and family

BBC News – Education and family – Q&A University funding

BBC News – Education and family – Oxford dons vote against Willets

BBC News – Education and family – Oxford dons declare ‘No confidence’ in Willets

BBC News – Education and family – MPs warn over tuition fees funding gap

National Children’s Bureau (NCB) – Ending child poverty – Making it happen

End Child Poverty.org – Poverty in a land of plenty – Five years on

Action for Children – Child poverty

Barnardos – Child Poverty

The Guardian – Severe poverty affects 1.6 million children, charity claims

Gazzette Live – Charity calls for action on child poverty within the UK

Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Can current policy end child poverty in Britain by 2020?

Child Poverty Action Group – Ending Child Poverty – A manifesto for success


About mubbisherahmed
I am passionate about IT and its ability to deliver cost effective, value for money solutions that can enhance performance and in many cases provide competitive advantage by using a range of solutions and approaches in innovative ways.

7 Responses to Our challenge – Eradicate child poverty

  1. Pingback: Our challenge - Eradicate child poverty | Γονείς σε Δράση

  2. mubbisherahmed says:

    Bob Gutjahr said the following on a social media site: You cannot eradicate child poverty, you can only work with parents to help them change and learn to bear responsibility. The results are in: A key determinant for lifting/keeping children out of poverty is two-parent families with engaged fathers. In the end, what the parents do affect the children. It is part of being significant.

    I replied:

    It is certainly challenging and it can be done. Unfortunately, mankind does not have the will to do it. Many years ago, it was considered impossible to rid the planet of many childhood diseases but that was conquered many years ago!

    It is a belief system and we HAVE to believe that we can someday achieve that goal, as the stakes are just too high to ignore.

    In the developed world we store mountains of food and create policies and documents
    that always under achieve in terms of eradicating child poverty. Yet, philanthropists such as Bill Gates, have achieved so much in terms of alleviating the suffering of so many with very little. For example, many years ago, Bill Gates charity was not only distributing oral re-hydration sachets but his teams were actually teaching locals how to make the life saving treatment for less than 1p! (Or 1 cent).

    “Bill Gates is currently in the UK and hopes are rising that political leaders will agree on Monday to pledge enough cash to save the lives of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries.

    Business chief and philanthropist Bill Gates and Prime Minister David Cameron are to lead the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) conference in London”.

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/bill-gates-offers-vaccine-talks-16010828.html#ixzz1PA4yir7C

    About 20m tons of food is thrown out each year: equivalent to half of the food import needs for the whole of Africa.

    Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/the-16320bn-food-mountain-britons-throw-away-half-of-the-food-produced-each-year-790318.html

    The UK recently came clean in admitting that the current EU mountain stands at some 13 million tonnes of rice, wheat, sugar and milk. If you want something to wash all of that down with then try one of the 265 million bottles of wine left in storage. Now that’s some lake.

    Read more: http://www.milescollins.com/wordpress/food-mountains-in-the-european-union

    I agree that:

    “A key determinant for lifting/keeping children out of poverty is two-parent families with engaged fathers. In the end, what the parents do affect the children”.

    However, the reality is that many children are unfortunately trapped with single parents, absent fathers or are orphans trapped by poverty for many different reasons.

    Last night, for example, I listened to a Pakistani news channel (ARY) where a very poor illiterate mother (Used to earn enough to afford a meal once a day and her house was scarce of furniture) with three children died (Her husband had already died) due to the administration of a wrong injection. The local police took a bribe from the doctor and refused to even register a First Incident Report (FIR). It was only after the plight was highlighted by the media that the arrest was made. Unfortunately, three children have been orphaned and there is no state system (As we have it in the UK/USA) to take care of them.

    As a conscious global society, it’s children such as these that we, as a collective, have to take responsibility for.

    Joe Corno added: Okay: I view a business, non-profit, or humanitarian aid Topic as a Promotion, but let’s create some absolute not-going-to-happen remedies for eradicating poverty everywhere.

    1. Cease producing Tobacco and raise Food for the Hungry in the vast acres of existing Tobacco fields.

    1. Same with planting for Alcoholic beverages, the Hopps, the Grains, etc. Turn the grains and harvest over to make food products to feed the poor and needy.

    Most countries consider Tobacco and Alcohol as some type of personal satisfaction product and in the U.S. the tax on them is entitled: Sin Taxes. If we would all take a view of sinning / transgressing in smoking and drinking would we ‘repent’ and feed the poverty stricken with the 150.00 monthly savings that we would not spend on Tobacco and Alcohol products? The 150. is a pull from my hip average and is probably low.

    In olden days, farmers would leave the outside rows of crops to be gleaned. So;

    1. Establish a 6-Row Glean of each and every harvest produced to go to feeding the poor people everywhere.

    1. Pull from the Herds one-tenth, (Tigthes in essence), of every herd of animal to be directed to feed the poor people everywhere.

    Of course; the burden in providing would be placed upon the cost of those purchasing the remaining 90 percent, but these folks are not the poor and needy, and they do not mind spending a few pennys more to feed the hungry, do they?

    1. Live the Boy Scout Law and Oath. If every one would abide by these standards, we could end poverty as we know it, but society has difficulty in living Ten Commandments, let alone all those “A Scout is” rules.

    There you have it. The Top 5 actual items that could reduce, if not iradicate poverty. Now, let’s poll the smokers and partakers of the drink, how willing they are to eliminate a harmful substance and redirect the crops, purchase costs, and health bills to be directed to the worthy cause of feeding the poor children, and adults, everywhere.

    There lies the rub. Could we not obtain a more higher satisfaction in being a service and giving aid to our fellow man, and woman, or to give into our own personal desires? let’s not exclude ourselves and look at the rich to do something. I realize that I am atypical, so please debate and discuss back to me on the benefits of your smoking and drinking.

    Frank replied and added: Education lifts all boats. Invest in it. Then people will lift themselves out of poverty.

    I replied to Joe and Frank:

    How about this then, Joe/Frank:

    On the other hand, we, the public, pay enough taxes to governments globally that we can afford to eradicate child poverty.

    The problem is when governments, for example (In the UK) have hundreds of millions of pounds available for Olympics and foreign regimes globally but lack the will to spend money to protect the most vulnerable, poverty stricken children!

    Frank added:

    I am originally from the UK. The UK government can afford Olympics and greater investment in child poverty and education. It is not an either/or situation. It is a matter of focus and planning ahead. While they are at it, they can raise my mother’s pathetic pension.

    Joe added: Joe Corno • I am not a great supporter of Government programs.

    My 5 suggestions do not take government involvement. There are plenty of legal charitable organizations that would grab at a sponsorship for transfering Tobacco and Alcohol related costs aiding those to quit such and devote the proceeds towards feeding the hungry.

    Education does indeed improve one’s environment and this does not need to be government processed as well. I just saw a ‘based on a true’ movie: Temple Cardine, about an individual with Autism. Changed the Cattle Industry in the U.S. and is a PHD. Half, of the Slaughter Houses utilize her concepts and devices.

    One person changing that much. What if one Million, deverted their Tobacco and/or Alcohol budgets? Could 150 Million Dollars be a good start? Let’s not look towards Government programs, or institutionalized education to lift the poor and down trodden amoung us.

    I heard a story: A person is strolling along a Beach and sees a man picking up live Sand Dollars and throwing them back into the Ocean, which was washed up by the tide.
    The person approached the Man and stated: there are Millions of Sand Dollars on this Beach! Do you think you can make a difference?

    The Man replied: I just did with this one, as he threw a Sand Dollar back into the Ocean.

    What if a Million ranchers contributed one Cow, one Pig, one Turkey, etc.? What if one Million farmers contribute one row of crops?

    No need for Government programs. Just good people doing good to for other good people.

    Bob added: Mubbusher, There is not much we can do about the children who are thousands of miles away. The best we can do there is send money to workers on the ground who are showing success. Sending buckets of money to governments does not work. Africa is a great example. Several years ago, while I was working in South Africa during the latest Live Aid effort for Africa, the treasurer of South Africa wrote an editorial in the Johannesburg newspaper saying that people need to quit sending money to African governments because it only encourages graft and corruption and does not get to the people in need.

    If you really want to make a difference for children in poverty, find a local organisation that does such work and has a track record of success. The Salvation Army is one of those organisations. You will soon find that working directly with families individually is far more successful than large programmes (see the book above) designed for the masses. You will also find that the most effective way to help the children is to guide the parents.

    I would suggest getting a subscription to WORLD magazine (www.worldmag.com) and reading through their articles on what works to help people out of poverty — both locally andinternationally. For poverty in Western countries, I recommend reading “The Tragedy of American Compassion” by Marvin Olasky.

    Christian replied:I understand that in North America most child poverty issues fall on single parents.

    @Bob, your initial response has great merrit.
    @Mubbisher, keep tossing those sand dollars and others might as well.
    @Joe, I have to agree that with government comes all the associated red tape and politics. There is a role they can play proven by the Canadian social safety net.
    @Frank, education can help some but not all have the capacity

    Poverty is a combination of social ills that are in general difficult to quantify. Everything from standard of living to drug and alcohol abuse through to mental illness. In Canada we have an impressive safety net yet there are those who will fall through the cracks.

    Joe Corno added: Where are all those who will quit the smokming and drinking to improve their own lives as they benefit other lives?

    I agree with every one that Poverty is here, we may always have poor with us, and it is a social ill. However; are we missing the point that we are society, and our personal desires attribute to the social ills?

    AH, Mubbisher….who wants to change to be better so that they can do more to be good? Throw money at it, create educational programs, government assistance, etc.
    and the beat goes on, and on, and on.

    The single parent, the unwed births, the split family, this is indeed the road to ruin for any society. Yet, we continue to support with our desires the items that lead to the negative impacts that society bears the burdens for.

    If we wish to change poverty, we need to change ourselves, individually, so the beat goes on, and on, and on. What? Change the way I live and enjoy my life for something better, not on my life, as society seeks to exist under a three-phrase statement:

    I want more, for less, without any risks.

    Dave replied to Joe: Dave Eisley • @Joe. We’ve already thrown money at it. We pay for social services with our tax dollars, unfortunately that money has been funneled away to pay for the military and to subsidize oil companies and farmers who produce GMOs. All the people that clamor for smaller government, end their rant when it comes to corporate greed.

    A great book to read on how to eliminate poverty is “The End of Poverty” by Jeffrey Sachs. He’s an economist, and a free market advocate. While he is not my cup of tea, eliminating it really isn’t very difficult. Instead of spending $500 billion a year on needless defense, and only $15 billion on ending poverty in the world – what would happen if we split the difference?

    On 14.6.11, I replied to all:

    Mubbisher Ahmed • @ Frank: I agree that “It is not an either/or situation. It is a matter of focus and planning ahead”.

    Yep, we need to set our priorities correctly, as a nation. If we focus on child poverty and plan now for the future, it can be achieved. I just hope that we can convince governments to take action NOW rather than waiting for child poverty numbers to increase.

    @ Joe: I just loved your last line that captured, in essence, exactly what I want to do in my smallish campaign to raise awareness on this important issue and that each of us, individually, can make a difference- “No need for Government programs. Just good people doing good to for other good people”. How true, what you just said, “If we wish to change poverty, we need to change ourselves, individually”.

    @ Bob: I wholeheartedly agree that throwing money at this problem will not solve it and that there is a need for awareness, education and as you said “guide the parents”. Terrific suggestion that I think each of in us our capacity should do is “to find a local organisation that does such work and has a track record of success”. That way we really are making a difference.

    Your suggestion for World magazine is noted (RSS feed enabled) and the book is on my wish list……..Anymore ideas?

    @ Christian: Thx, yep, will keep doing the Michael Knight “One man can make a difference”, although I do wish I had his car!

    You are so, so right, “Poverty is a combination of social ills that are in general difficult to quantify”. Very hard to eradicate poverty as Bob said but I have already seen so many good contributions from TRP members and other groups and if we all took some of those suggestions on board and submitted them to charities, govts etc, we CAN make a difference. The thing that struck a cord with me was that all the suggestions are really easy to implement but have massive significant positive repurcussions on child poverty!

    @ Dave: A man with my heart and sentiments. That’s the flipside, isn’t it, “eliminating it really isn’t very difficult. Instead of spending $500 billion a year on needless defense, and only $15 billion on ending poverty in the world – what would happen if we split the difference?”

    Or, like I said, spending money (In the UK) on Olympics and sending £600 million to foreign corrupt governments (Ross, trying not to go all political and present a balanced arguement)

    “The End of Poverty” by Jeffrey Sachs, makes it to my wish list!

    Nice one…..come on…. we only just got started. Give me more as I am so serious about this that I will start engaging charities and whoever listens and present all these simple measures that we can all take to make a difference…

    Who else? We need more, more suggestions….

    Joe Corno replied: The GREED factor: Now we are talking about social changes – again.

    I am not for throwing money, government programs, or the list that every one always provides when they are in their comfort zones and do not wish to change for good.

    Everything takes risk and we need to want to take the risk to make the change.

    As we come full circle in our discussion, ‘of words’, what will cause any one to change so that you can be better and do more good?

    I think I have played out here and will read other’s points of view. Any one quiting smoking and contributing the money to feed the children?

    I added: Joe, thanks for ‘playing it out’ enjoyed your comments and feedback. True, enough, GREED is a valid argument. For example, we could always buy a smaller car, save fuel money, the environment and the higher maintenance costs of larger cars but our pride and vanity with ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality stops most of us from doing that.

    We live in a materialistic society and are accustomed to relatively comfortable lifestyles and that can sometimes affect our judgement of what it must feel like, for example, not to go on holiday as a family or be able to afford certain items.

    I think it is very clear now with this discussion that eradicating poverty will take a lot of will that will have to be coupled with focussed initiatives by the public/private and charity sectors, while concentrating on ‘quick wins’ and simple but quick implementations of the solutions that have been discussed in this forum.

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  4. mubbisherahmed says:

    Andrew Barber said the following on a social media site: I wonder what the PM and also cross party menbers have to say about this. I saw the programme and it left me almost in tears. We spend millions of public money on the olympic games when we cannot pay for families wo are on the bread line (or below) to live in decent housing stock. As a country, we should be ashamed of ourselves. It seemsd to me that the government are happy to let charities such as Save the Children and CAP etc. pick up the pieces. As you can see, I feel very passionate/angry about this situation.

    I replied:

    The reason I wrote this blog is to bring it to the attention of the public and any politicians that are prepared to give this issue a voice. So hopefully, someone, somewhere will pick this up on our (The British public’s) behalf.

    Yes, thanks for reminding me about the Olympics, I had totally forgot about that and it is so true. I am as passionate and angry as you are and I am actually going to insert the following quote in my blog, as it is very aptly put across and I had missed that view regarding the Olympics:

    “We spend millions of public money on the olympic games when we cannot pay for families wo are on the bread line (or below) to live in decent housing stock”.

  5. mubbisherahmed says:

    Syed Karrar said the following on a social media site: it is a matter of distribution of money to the needy kids we can save 5 breakfast at least in a month and then send to the charity society by collecting small amount in a short period of time the amount will become big .

    I replied:

    I love your spirit and sacrificial sentiments, Syed Karrar but the reality is that we shouldn’t have to do that. We, the public, pay enough taxes to governments globally that we can afford to eradicate child poverty.

    The problem is when governments, for example (In the UK) have hundreds of millions of pounds available for Olympics and foreign regimes globally but lack the will to spend money to protect the most vulnerable, poverty stricken children!

  6. mubbisherahmed says:

    Troy A Johnson, said the following on a social media site: Interesting topic, thank you. Perhaps the “facts” are looking for a causal relationship between poverty and educational achievement when only a correlation exists. We all know of people who grew up in poverty and yet attained a high level of education and enjoy a successful life. One may consider that children born into poverty have parents who are less educated and not financially successful, thus their upbringing is by people who do not stress the importance of education and who are not equipped with the skills to teach their children how to be successful in school or life. On the other hand, children born into a wealthy family are more likely to have educated parents who know how to be financially successful and can pass those skills on to their children and create opportunities for them to also be successful in school and life. Another factor may also be time. Less financially successful parents are more likely to have to spend a greater amount of their time working to pay for life essentials, leaving less time to spend with their children as opposed to wealthier parents where one parent is potentially able to devote full time to child rearing. Wealthy parents also tend to have fewer children per household, thus increasing the time effect over poorer parents. One final consideration is that poorer children are more likely to be born out of wedlock to a single teenage parent household than wealthier children, thus multiplying the financial, educational and time disadvantages.

    Therefore, it would seem that four initiatives that may help the problem are: 1) reduce the number of single parent teenage births; 2) educating and increasing the financial success of parents; 3) encouraging people to consider the time and financial commitments when determining how many children to have; and 4) incorporating financial literacy into the public school system and placing the same emphasis on the topic as reading, writing and math.

    All easier said than done, but those are my thoughts on this complex problem.

    I replied:

    Very thoughtful comments with pretty deep reasoning, culminating in your four initiatives. I found that quite interesting as I pondered these four points and discussed these with my teenage daughter. Apparently, these four points are addressed in school curriculums at GCSE level in the UK, across a few subjects, the caveat being that (according to my daughter) are not emphasised strongly enough.

    On the other hand, we, the public, pay enough taxes to governments globally that we can afford to eradicate child poverty.

    The problem is when governments, for example (In the UK) have hundreds of millions of pounds available for Olympics and foreign regimes globally but lack the will to spend money to protect the most vulnerable, poverty stricken children!

    Troy replied to me and said: Surely you’re not suggesting that the public support all these children and their parents? I don’t think it pencils. It gets back to the old saying “give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.” People need to contribute to society and provide for their offspring or don’t have them. Helping them learn to do that is an endeavor worthy of public spending, supporting poor decisions is not.

    Taso added: Interesting topic and very thoughtful comments! Very complex issue indeed.

    I would turn your attention to how one defines the word “poverty”. If it means “lack of money” and children living in miserable conditions then certainly you cannot change their situation by incorporating complex institutional changes – because that boat has passed – the only way to relieve the problem is by addressing it currently with public funds or through a philanthropic program. I really doubt that if you teach children to be more fiscally wise this will improve their situation when they don’t have the means to better their parents’ existence.

    What caused the parents to fail and how can we fix it? In a society where competition and the accumulation of wealth is emphasized you will always have the “haves” and the “have nots”. One could come up with all kinds of proposals based on his or her point of view to fix the problem but in every situation there will be those who are able to adopt and succeed and those who will not – survival of the fittest (and may I add – the privileged). Look through the ages, the problem has existed and will continue.

    The better question would be “are we really interested in fixing the problem?”

    Michael added: The poor will always be with us….someone said that a couple thousand years ago.

    And it is true, particularly when the definition of “poverty” and “problem” are created by those who benefit from making the problem bigger. Can’t speak directly to the UK, but in the US by any objective standard there are very, very few materially poor people. Time after time it is shown that the “poor” of today are much better off than the lower middle class of even forty years ago.
    What the so called “poor” do lack is motivation, discipline, stable family structure, male leadership, freedom from addictions and religous faith.

    The children that you mention do not make the choices that result in their so called poverty. Without conceding that the children truly are materially poor, to address the problem we must ruthlessly change government programs which enable the bad behavior and poor choices of adults.

    I replied to all:

    Mubbisher Ahmed • @ Troy: No, not at all. One thread that is common between a few groups that I have posted this discussion at (and the discussion on all of them is gathering momentum) is that child poverty is due to many different reasons, including some mentioned by all of us within this group. I wholeheartedly agree that one way of fixing the problem is parent education and raising the awareness to live withins ones means or as you said, have as many kids as one can afford!

    @ Taso: Yes and maybe the “only way to relieve the problem is by addressing it currently with public funds or through a philanthropic program”.Or maybe there are many other quick simple ways to accomplish this. At the end of my reply, I am copying/pasting a reply by me to another group (Ids removed) that presented some very implementable solutions.

    The questions that you asked are spot on. “What caused the parents to fail and how can we fix it?The better question would be “are we really interested in fixing the problem?”.

    @ Michael: So, parents have to be educated and made aware to motivate themselves, have self-discipline, to create a stable family structure, have male leadership and feedom from addictions and religous faith. Yep, thumbs up to that, Michael.

    Again a comon theme among groups, “we must ruthlessly change government programs which enable the bad behavior and poor choices of adults”.

    I like all these suggestions, simple and implementable…..

    16/6/11 Hardy Matamoros replied: Unfortunately, the situation of our poor kids is not just an actual issue it is a reality fact that society directly or indirectly has been created through many years, and the society is the only group that needs to think and find the appropriate solutions to be fixed fightting for the changes taking in consideration the motivation of the parents, educates our kids of how important is the education and how can benefit the future of their generation, Educates kids in regards not having sexual relation at a short-ages, Government needs to concentrated their effor to created society events and spend, or invest billions of dollars back to the society in the creation of more school and not spending into a war that not provided any benefits to the society, on the contrary, created destruction of our environment and more orphaned children not able to continue their lives normally like every children should be have.

    This is a complex question and answer, because every body can respond based on the experience lived through our childhood experience.

    I added: @Hardy Good valid points, my friend. If we look at global spend on defence and then compare it against how it compares to each countries spend on children, it would dwarf that spending by millions, in every country. It’s a sad fact that we, as mankind, spend more money waging war with each other than trying to rescue the very children that are our future.

    You are correct as well that so far everyone has replied according to their life experiences and perceptions and that, I suppose, could be viewed as both mankind’s strength and weakness!

  7. Pingback: Children and Young People NOW! Manifesto – My Verdict… « Kidwarrior's Blog – My view of the big world

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