International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2014

On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we look at how Compassion’s Child Survival Program is helping young mothers across the world improve their family situations.

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Miriam from El Salvador was living in urban poverty

“Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.”

The United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed on 17 October every year since 1993 to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.

According to The World Bank, in 2011, 17 per cent of people in the developing world lived at or below US$1.25 a day. That’s down from 43 per cent in 1990 and 52 per cent in 1981. We’ve come a long way in the fight against poverty and we still have a long way to go.

Compassion’s Child Survival Program is just one of the ways we help people like Miriam thrive. 

Miriam and her daughter Ruth from El Salvador had their lives changed by the Child Survival Program
Surviving Urban Poverty

In a country like El Salvador, urban poverty encompasses the hidden difficulties that do not appear obviously to the observer.

Urban poverty means having the necessary plumbing to get running water but lacking the service six days a week. It means trouble finding an affordable place to live and the place you can afford—a house made with bricks and a roof—is in an area plagued with crime, drugs and gangs.

Urban poverty means that jobs available to people without degrees or any formal education are far away from where you live and scarce.

Miriam lives in poverty in the Plan del Pino community, located in the heart of one of the most populated areas in the metropolitan area of San Salvador.

Miriam’s only option to earn an income is selling prepared fruit like mangoes or oranges sliced and dressed with lime juice, salt and hot sauce out of her home. She does this in the hope of earning around US$10 each day, half of which goes towards buying supplies for the next day.

At 21 years old, Miriam had her baby girl Ruth and had a hard time as a young mother. Her husband worked as an assistant mechanic, but his work was anything but steady. Miriam and her young family were struggling.

“I remember one day we had nothing to eat. My husband had been without a job for several months, so I spent the money I had for fruit on food for the family. I told my husband that we should trust God and that He would help us,” says Miriam.

When baby Ruth was three months old, Miriam was registered with the local Child Survival Program.

“That same day, the sister from the Child Survival Program approached us and we started receiving support from the program. We received enough food for all of us for a full week,” says Miriam.

Ruth was found to be severely malnourished and was immediately classified as a Highly Vulnerable Child and received extra nutritional benefits to help her gain weight.

Being part of the Child Survival Program hasn’t just impacted on Ruth, who is now three years old, but the whole family.

Miriam shares what she learns with other mothers and duplicates the lessons and advice she receives. She has noticed the difference being in the Child Survival Program has made for Ruth.

“When I compare my girl to other children, she is different,” says Miriam.

“She walked before the rest of the children her age.”

By giving more children like Ruth and mums like Miriam the opportunities and support they need to grow and thrive, Compassion supporters are playing a role in eradicating poverty. Thank you!
You can help children like Ruth get the best start in life by donating to our Child Survival Program.
Words by Nestor Reynoza and Monique Wallace

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