Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No Longer a Slumdog

I'm back! It has been a while since my last post. When my life gets busy, thinking up and taking time to write my blog seems to be one of the first things to fly out the window.
The last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about children who grow up in places with no access to education, little access to food, and who need to begin working or begging at a young age to survive. I know I haven't written in 20 days and I come back with a heavy topic. I recently read a book called "No Longer a Slumdog" by K. P. Yohannan about the Dalit (untouchable) children in Southeast Asia. K. P. Yohannan is the founder and director of Gospel For Asia. This book shares some stories about children who come from the bottom most castes, children without hope or a chance to better their lives. In Southeast Asia there are 50 million children who work from age 4 on. This is a devastating statistic. What does this number even mean? I can grasp 500 and even 5,000, but 50,000,000. The population California and Pennsylvania combined comes to about 50 million.
What kind of work do children so young do? Many of these children are scavengers. They spend hours in the dumps searching through scraps to find something that can be sold or used some how to get some money. The lucky children toil in fields and the more unfortunate become sex slaves. Parents with little to no education sell or give their children to shady business people because they are promised that their child will be fed and clothed. The reality is the child is often sold into slavery. Girls are often sold into prostitution and have a life expectancy of 15 years.
These children have no hope of any kind. What can they possibly do to better themselves? K. P. Yohannan writes about a solution, a solution that you and I can be a part of. Gospel For Asia is setting up Bridge of Hope centers amongst the Dalit populations. These centers provide food, clothes and education for the children who are entered. These children take what they have learned, educationally, hygienically, and spiritually back to their families and communities. Entire communities are being transformed by the influence of young children who are learning that they have value. These children for the first time will have opportunities that were never available to their parents.
 After reading about humanitarian problems, I'm usually depressed. What can I possibly do? There is so much to be done and I don't see how anything I do can make any difference. There is a simple solution, I can sponsor a child so they can have regular meals, go to school, and learn how to rise above their situation. You might say, but that is just one person among millions, what difference can that really make? I have a question for you. How many people do you come in contact with every day? Over the course of your lifetime how many people have you knowingly or unknowingly influenced? In the same way, a child given the chance at life can be a pebble thrown into the lake. Gospel For Asia is only one organization that has a child sponsorship program, there are others such as Compassion International and Children's Hope Chest. What can you do to help beat back the tides of poverty, disease, and starvation? You can educate yourself by reading books like "No Longer a Slumdog" and you can spread awareness. If you want to serve more hands on you can sponsor one child. That child can then go on and realize dreams that were not possible before and, thus, change the world.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Kristin. This is an important topic. A good writer entertains as well as challenges his readers; thank you for challenging us.