People Need You

By Sarah Johnston

Steve Schifferes, an economics reporter for the BBC wrote a startling article about world poverty in August and as this is our first post, and it’s Blog Action Day today with this year’s focus on poverty, I thought it would be a good idea to examine the horrific reality of what daily life is for 1.4 BILLION people. Yes, you read that right folks, the global population is estimated to be about 6.7 Billion right now and nearly a fifth of those people live in abject misery.

How many times have you been preached to that giving up your daily fix of Starbucks and donating the money to charity could make such a difference? Or been told about how $50 can be a life-changing amount of money for someone in a poor country? It’s hard to believe isn’t it? And here’s why.

For most people in developed countries, the notion of poverty is relative to our wealth. A poor person in America is infinitely better off than a poor person in Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s suffering in this country but it’s possible to be poor but still have some semblance of a basic existence. But imagine trying to survive on $1.25 or less a day? Imagine trying to feed yourself and your family on that amount?

According to Schifferes’ article, ‘the number of poor people in Africa doubled between 1981 and 2005 from 200 million to 380 million, and the depth of poverty is greater as well, with the average poor person living on just 70 cents per day.’

70 cents wouldn’t buy a chocolate bar most days.

But in absolute numbers, it is South Asia which has the most poor people, with 595 million, of which 455 million live in India. Just to bring that home a bit, the population of the United States is approximately 305 million.

It’s easy to get lost in numbers however.

Read this heartbreaking account of one African woman’s daily struggle and I urge you to compare it to your own life.

The OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) has reported that many rich countries have cut back on their foreign aid budgets, with little sign that the pledge made at the G8 summit in Scotland in 2005 to double aid to Africa by 2010 is being met.

Clearly, our world leaders are guilty of a lot of talk and questionable amounts of action.

That’s where you and I come in. There is an old Russian proverb:

“If everyone gives one thread, the poor person will have a shirt”

Or if everyone gave up a grande cappuccino, children AND their mothers would get to eat.

Do you want to do something positive today? Now more than ever, people are in need.

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