The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left millions struggling with unemployment and uncertainty. But what will it mean for our world's most vulnerable citizens—children living in poverty?
02 Jun, 2020
More than 6 million cases. Over 350,000 people have lost their lives.
Mental health impacts are on the rise—and so are unemployment rates. Developed economies are sputtering and stalling.
Yet as the epicentre of the disaster shifts from Europe to the USA and into Latin America, it's clear that the battle has only just begun for much of the world.
But together, we won't let COVID-19—or poverty—win. Give now and rise as one to help protect children from the devastation of COVID-19.
The people who will be hurt the most are the world's most vulnerable citizens—children and families who live in poverty.
If that's not bad enough, the World Bank is warning that there will soon be millions more children who find themselves below the poverty line, through no fault of their own.
That's right—for the first time in decades, global poverty is set to increase.
For decades, the poverty rate around the world has been dropping. In fact, the global poverty rate has been cut in half since the year 2000.
The economic rise of countries like China and India, increase of global trade and cooperation, better government policies and a concerted humanitarian effort—these have really added up!
And a big part of the picture is the way that God has worked through the generosity and diligence of friends like you, as you've equipped local churches across the world to release children from poverty in Jesus' name.
But COVID-19 is likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998—according to the World Bank.
Though Sub-Saharan Africa has so far avoided the worst of the virus from a health perspective, projections suggest that it will be the region hit hardest in terms of increased extreme poverty.
There's more to poverty than economic hardship.
We must remember that included in these concerning numbers, are children.
And for children, there's far more to poverty than just economic hardships.
Poverty speaks to a child. It tells them "You don't matter, you are nothing. Life will always be this way." These thoughts can leave a child feeling helpless and alone, without a hope for the future they could hold—a future free from poverty.
Poverty leads a child to feel excluded from society, ostracised due to the economic status of the family they were born into.
This lack of belonging, this sense of being separate to their community bears down on the mind of a child. Their mental and emotional development suffers. They are left alone with feelings of isolation, shame and worthlessness.
There's a loss of childhood that comes with poverty. Where the average child can attend school, play with friends and work towards a future, a child in poverty feels stunted. They lose their belief in their own abilities to learn and grow.
Without education and encouragement, they are left without direction.
In this social context, fathers are often forced to travel for work, with mothers spending sunrise to dawn gathering what income they can. There aren't resources available for them to retrain or seek new employment, so a child is often at home alone, leaving them vulnerable to abuse. These working conditions also mean a child grows up without a strong parental presence, impacting their emotional wellbeing and development.
There are many unseen facets of poverty that impact a child, but through the Church and supporters like you, we can play a part in bringing them into the light.
What does that mean for children? And what can we do about it?
This can seem overwhelming. How can I alone make a lasting impact on poverty?
Fortunately, you are not alone in this. More stable than the issue of poverty, is our Heavenly Father.
He is steadfast and unwavering, and He can equip us to make a difference in these growing number of children facing poverty.
Firstly, we can lift this issue up to Him in prayer.
We've set up a Facebook Prayer Group for passionate supporters, volunteers, staff and Advocates from around the nation to unite on behalf of the children in our programs. Read media, find out what is happening in these countries and pray for them.
We keep a regular update on our website of the COVID-19 situation across all of our field countries here.
Pray for our local church partners, that they are able to remain healthy and well, and continue to look out for the children registered in our program. And pray for Compassion assisted children, that our Heavenly Father will protect them and offer His provision over their families in this season.
We know the current pandemic has also impacted the lives of people in our own nation. If you find yourself in a financial position to do so, please donate to our Disaster Relief Fund to bring hope to a child facing extreme poverty in this unknown season.
Words by Richard Miller and Cassie Holland
Photos by Daron Short, Gregory Woodman and Ben Adams
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