The Poor get poorer and the Rich won’t admit it….

by ACT

  • Posted on February 20, 2018

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‘’To everyone that hath, more shall be given, and from those that hath not even the little that they hath shall be taken away’’ (Matthew 13:12)

… World day of social Justice

If you can afford to eat three meals a day for three weeks straight, you are ranked in the top 15% of the richest people in the world. But it is a world in which to afford one meal a day is increasingly difficult for the poorest in society. The words of Jesus Christ quoted from the book of Matthew, is so often taken out of context to justify the inequalities that we see today all over the world. Jesus’ comment is a reverse of the justification for which it is sometimes conveniently applied. In fact, Jesus cared first and foremost for the poor – that is exactly what he preached, that we look after the poor.

Today, 20th February marks the ninth anniversary of the United Nations World Day of Social Justice. It is an important day to highlight international efforts to remove social barriers and alleviate poverty in the world. The principle is based on human rights, equality and social justice. The reality of course is different. The poor that we are supposed to be helping are unaware of this special day. Many can barely afford a meal, have no education, and certainly do not have access to the internet to read about the day of social justice.

All is not lost. We all can do something. We can be the change and help to eradicate poverty.

Our work in eight countries across Africa has exposed us to the nature of poverty and the human misery that it generates. Two of the countries, Burkina Faso in West Africa and Malawi in South eastern Africa are ranked amongst the poorest in the world, and very high levels of poverty in these societies. There are many ­­­­­­­­­­causes, but what solutions can we apply to help break the cycle? This is reason why ACT, working with its partners in these communities, is bringing hope of a breakthrough to the most vulnerable people through its education and welfare programmes.

Edet orphans – Henry, Hannah & Saviour in their new flat.

For example, in Nigeria many orphans face significant barriers to getting good quality education. Although the country has an abundance of crude oil and gas reserves, yet most of its citizens are living in very poor conditions with no access to water or electricity. UNICEF estimates that there are over 8.3 million very poor orphan children in Nigeria struggling to access basic needs and education. The absence of a social welfare support system results in orphan children taking up low paid employment to survive. Sadly, many of them are left destitute on the streets and are at risk of being trafficked abroad. Furthermore, they can become easy targets for recruitment by terrorist groups such as Boko Haran that have caused devastation in the north-eastern part of the country.

For the Edet orphans in Ipaja, Nigeria, the risk of destitution was at their doorstep when at very early age they were orphaned. Hannah, then 15 years old took on responsibility for looking after her brothers Henry (11) and Saviour (9).  Their choices were limited, education was not affordable and life looked bleak until ACT stepped in. They have first-hand knowledge of social injustice. The house where they rented a room was bulldozed by the local government to make way for road construction while the children were at school. As a result, they lost their few possessions. Although they paid rent, they have no chance of compensation, the building like others was an illegal structure. Unfortunately, that was all that they could afford. Thankfully we were able to provide them with better long-term accommodation and the opportunity to continue their education.

For all of us in the richest 85% category in the world, we have a responsibility to help break the cycle of poverty for the other 15%. We should admit that we are better-off and therefore play our part in bringing about change and social justice.

If you would like to find out more and how you can be a part of the change click here.


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