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In the world today, approximately 128 million children
do not attend school, mostly because there is no school to attend. Millions are left unattended while the parents go to work or "out
for a spin". Children cannot be blamed for this, we must blame ourselves
for not providing them with a proper educational system and help.
What has been done to help?
Organizations have been building schools for children and providing education programs which involve parents and caregivers to learn how to prepare their children to become involved in an educational system. To learn more about children and education, and what has been done to help, please read "Dreaming of School", which was put out by UNICEF.
In the wars which we wage upon ourselves over 1.5 million children have been killed within the last decade (these are wars where civilians have been more devastated than soldiers). Four to five million children have been disabled, 12 million now have become homeless and over a million are orphaned or just can't find their parents.
During the war of Mozambique over 250,000 children were seperated or abducted from their families. Even more horrifying, children were ordered to fight and kill in the war. Not only did children fight in this war but many fight in others as well.
Every year, 14 million children under the age of five die of unnecessary causes, mostly from disease, in the developing world. This figure is for an ordinary year; when there is drought or famine, this figure increases.
Four million children die of diarrheal diseases, mostly from drinking polluted or contaminated water. People are so poor they cannot afford a water-purification system. Five million more die of diseases such as measles, tetanus, and whooping cough, which has been brought under control through the use of vaccines a long time ago in the developed world. Over a million children also die of malaria, which can also be aided through the use of vaccines. The rest die from a combination of illness and malnutrition.
It is not difficult nor expensive to prevent these deaths. Oral rehydration, or ORT, is a mixture of salt, sugar, and clean water. The World Health Organization has estimated that more than half of the children who die of diarrheal diseases could be kept alive by the use of ORT. This treatment has been around for hundreds of years and is just as simple to implement as it sounds. Most of the other problems can be solved by the use of vaccination programs and antibiotics.
According to UNICEF, the cost of using these three life-savers (ORT, vaccination, and antibiotics) would be $2.5 billion (US). This sum does not sound like much when you compare it to other comparable figures:
If you'd like more information about children and disease, please visit the World Health Organization Division of Child Health and Development.
Hunger and Malnutrition
We all need enough food; it is one of our most basic needs. However, about 40,000 human beings, mostly children, die DAILY of malnutrition and associated diseases. Yet, there have been many pledges made by governments at international conferences to eliminate hunger and malnutrition from this planet.
In 1995, 117 heads of state pledged in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development that by the turn of the century, to reduce severe and moderate malnutrition among children under five years of age to half of the 1990 level.' Furthermore, it was declared that food was to be accessible to all, in reasonable supply.
There are eight hundred million people in the world that are undernourished, mainly in developing countries. One third of the world's children are malnourished.
To learn more about starving children, and what we can do to help, please visit Safe Food for All: A Consumer Manifesto.
According to UNICEF, in The State of the World's Children 1997, "Hazardous child labour is a betrayal of every child's rights as a human being and is an offense against our civilization." Children are most often driven into labor on account of three forces: lack of education, poverty, and tradition. Poverty is the most dangerous of the three--these children usually work in hazardous jobs. Through education and providing schools for children, most of the world's child labor can be eliminated. Furthermore, governments of all countries must enforce laws prohibiting child labor, and not just write them in law books. If you would like to learn more about child labor and how it can be ended, please read The State of the World's Children 1997, which was put out by UNICEF.
Whenever a natural disaster strikes, children are usually hit the hardest. They are the most vulnerable and often the first victims of disasters. By providing them with care and teaching them how to prepare for when a natural disaster strikes, they would be equipped to handle this situations much better.
Violence & Gangs
The second leading cause of death in the United States among 14-17 year olds is murder, mostly resulting from gang activity.
The violence which is displayed on our streets also plays a big role in many children's lives, when it shouldn't play a role in any. More and more children every day are being exposed to the corruption and bloodshed that takes place on our streets. More and more children are joining gangs, doing drugs and taking up life on the streets, in other words destroying their lives. If we can provide these children with the proper education, boost their self esteem, and teach them to love one another and that life is full of meaning, then it would be less likely that we would have a problem such as this one.
There are four major factors why children join gangs:
One of the best and easiest ways to keep children out of the streets and out of violent gangs is to have the support of the family, especially the parents. If youth feel they are loved at home, they won't turn to a gang as readily. Furthermore, a good education and establishment of recreational programs in the community can help curb gang violence. If you would like more information about gang prevention, please visit the Gang Violence and Prevention Page.
Child Drug Abuse
Drugs offer the simplest escape from reality for most children. When youth sometimes do not know where to turn for help and can't deal with problems and pressures, they sometimes make the wrong choice. The leading cause in children using drugs is peer pressure. Many children are growing up hooked on these deadly drugs, and will die a premature death because of their poor choice. For more information about ways to prevent drug abuse, please visit Ways you can end violence and drug abuse.