Last Thursday, in the weekly life group that we lead, we talked about the state of world poverty, what the Bible has to say, and our response to it. It is a subject that we are very passionate about. We feel so blessed to live where we do, have the opportunities that we have and not have to live in daily fear about our safety or where our next meal will come from. Living in a country as incredible as Canada is truly a blessing, but it is also so easy to get comfortable in our blessings and forget how the rest of the world lives. Of course we don’t really forget, but it sure can seem distant as we deal with the daily stresses and issues of life here. I find that often, I need to be brought back to the reality of the true state of the world, to remind myself what is really important and what my mission really is here on earth. Here are some statistics that really shook us up. As you read them, let them sink in, let them cause your heart to break. These stats make us uncomfortable, but if we allow them to break our hearts, they will move us to action.
Of the 6.7 Billion People in the World Today:
1 Billion people don’t have enough food to eat.
25,000 children die each day from largely preventable causes (9.2 million children per year).
1.1 Billion people do not have access to safe water.
We use about 100 litres of water for a five-minute shower; a person in a developing country would average about 10 litres per day.
90 Million children are not in school.
2% of disabled children in developing countries receive an education.
33 Million people are living with HIV in the world today.
5,479 people die each day of AIDS.
12 Million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS (This number is projected to reach 14 million by 2015.)
300,000 children under 18 currently serving in government forces or armed rebel groups.
9 Million children have been forced to flee their homes and live as refugees.
After a visit to India, Gospel for Asia founder, KP Yohannan returned with the following newspaper clipping:
On the front page there was a picture of a little boy lying on a sidewalk next to a dog, and if you look closely at the picture you can see that the boy is actually sucking milk out of the female dog, just to get a little bit of nourishment. The caption under the picture said, ”This dog is his mother.” The article went on to explain that there are 100,000 children on the streets of just one city in India who don’t have anyone at all to take care of them.
In a world where we are so advanced and have so much at our disposal, this should not be. However, it is the world that is a reality for most orphans around the world. They are the most vulnerable; they are the ones that are affected most by these stats. In the position of blessing that we find ourselves in, here in North America, we must respond to this challenge. The time is now!
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2008; FAO, 2009)
- United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2009. The State of the World’s Children.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Report (HDR) 2006.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 2003. World Environment Day website.
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) 2007. Education For All Global Monitoring Report.
- Child Rights Information Network 2007
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 2008. Report on the global AIDS epidemic 2008.
- Human Rights Watch 2006. Facts About Child Soldiers.
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2007.