How would you feel if I were to tell you that there are many children suffering in the world today? How about if I were more specific and told you that over 30,000 children under age 5 are suffering from hunger and preventable diseases? Does this resonate within the depths of your heart?
Sweet, innocent babies die every day from a preventable disease in an indigenous country. That number could be considered huge by some, or perhaps quite small, depending on your perspective. If you are referring to population size, however, that is the size of a small city. In regard to time, 30,000 seconds is actually only a little over eight hours. Or 30,000 children could be like 30 large elementary schools disappearing from the face of the earth on Monday … and again on Tuesday … and so on.
What’s stealing the future from so many children? It’s not always some mysterious plague or natural disaster — we’re usually talking about far more common things like malaria, diarrhea, measles and unclean water.
What’s unconscionable is that nearly every one of those deaths could be prevented for as little as $1 (or more) per child. Even more, this epidemic can be properly contained or prevented by loving individuals who care for the lives and future of these children who need us.
Yes, we have issues in our own cities (and country) that monopolize our time, psychological and emotional energy, and the news, such as the rising cost of housing, local politics, job loss, mental health disparities, poverty and homelessness here at home, child abuse and neglect, rape, natural disasters and the like. But we rarely hear about something as devastating as tens of thousands of children dying each day due to extreme suffering as we go about our daily lives.
Unfortunately, we forget these children exist and may not be reminded of this reality until the holiday season rolls around, a time when Christians are strongly reminded of the birth of Jesus and the beauty of spreading the love of God. While this is a wonderful endeavor, we should also be reminded to show love to these children and lend a helping hand throughout the year.
It’s time we started demanding more of ourselves regularly and begin feeling responsible for our neighbor. I would like to urge readers of this article to educate themselves beyond the issues within our own borders. Become culturally astute! While we are lending a helping hand to our neighbor right here at home, let’s expand our charitableness to those outside our nation. Find out what’s going on in the rest of the world and then take a step to do something about it.
There are also practical ways (e.g., random acts of kindness, donating clothing, books, or money; helping out at local food banks, hospitals, or shelters; having compassion on the needy, that is, reminding ourselves that we are never above poverty or homelessness because it can happen to the best of us; etc.) and even inexpensive ways (e.g., volunteering or internship and continuing education about the issues various cultures face) we can all get involved in the fight against poverty and inequality.
30,000… What comes to mind when you hear that number now?
May love continually inspire you to reach beyond the holiday and toward a hurting child in need.
Paz y amor (peace and love)
Compassion. (2010). Releasing children from poverty: Child advocacy. Retrieved November 28, 2010, from http://www.compassion.com/child-advocacy/.