It’s hard to feel optimistic about the world right now. We face seemingly insurmountable challenges everywhere we look. But we cannot ignore the plight of suffering humanity. Here are five (huge) world challenges and two good reasons why we need to step up and get involved.
- Post-pandemic, 283 million people are food insecure with a staggering 45 million at risk of famine in 43 countries. According to the UN’s World Food Programme, 3 million children a year die from malnutrition – one every ten seconds. The war in Ukraine has made this worse: The UN says a further 8-20 million people will go hungry from the knock-on effects of soaring prices and broken supply chains for grains, cooking oil, fertiliser and fuel.
2. Extreme Poverty:
- Covid increased the rate of extreme poverty – those surviving on less than $1.90 per day – by an estimated 97 million people, from a global rate of 7.8 to 9.1%, reversing two decades of progress. This won’t turn around quickly, especially in places which were already fragile (like South Sudan), still lack access to vaccines (like Kenya), have acquired huge new national debt (like Zambia) or where the economy is in freefall (like Lebanon and Sri Lanka).
3. Climate Change:
- Shifting weather patterns, unpredictable rainfall, traditional crops now less reliable, salination of land by rising sea levels, health impacts, eg: mosquito-borne diseases experienced further afield as conditions change, more flooding, drought and wildfires… Climate change and disaster impacts are expected to push a further 132 million people into poverty by 2030 and displace 216 million people within their own countries by 2050.
- Pre-Covid, 258 million school-aged children were out of school, and those in school weren’t all learning adequately. In lower and middle-income countries, 53% of children in school couldn’t read by the age of ten. School closures and inequitable access to online learning had a catastrophic multiplier effect; reducing learning and exposing children to further risks including exploitation and child labour. The Covid generation will lose an estimated $17 trillion in life-time earnings due to disrupted education.
- Two billion people – a quarter of the world’s population – live in areas of conflict. The UN says world peace is more threatened now than at any time since the Second World War. There are 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide, according to the Global Conflict Tracker, which categorises conflicts as ‘worsening’, ‘unchanging’ and ‘improving’. Right now, no conflict is described as ‘improving’. The ‘worsening’ category includes Ukraine, Yemen, Myanmar and Ethiopia.
Why We Must Act
1. Answering God’s Call
- As Christians, we must answer God’s call to care for the poor and vulnerable. (“Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31:8) The Bible is unmistakeably clear that God’s love for us was demonstrated in an inexpressibly costly way. How can we not show the same love to others?
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3: 16-18
2. Children Need Us Now
Children need our intervention today, not in five years time! The earlier we can intervene for a child in crisis, the better their chance of a stable future:
“Children suffer poverty differently from adults and they are more likely to experience lifelong consequences from it. Malnutrition can last a lifetime, having long-term consequences on children’s physical, social and emotional development. And losses in learning at a young age can result in children falling behind in school, finding it difficult to ever catch up. Without access to health care, children miss out on vaccines that could be lifesaving in later years and the treatment necessary to grow up healthy and thrive. In addition, children are placed at greater risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse.” (UNICEF)
What Can We Do?
There is SO MUCH we can do! The challenges of global poverty are huge, but at Global Care we won’t let them daunt us. We are tackling child poverty; one child, one family, one community at a time. We can ALL do SOMETHING. Take a good look around this website. Whether it’s sponsoring a child, or helping children with disabilities, or educating a child in a conflict zone like Syria or Myanmar, or many other projects, you can help children today. Don’t turn away.