International Day for Eradicating Poverty Highlights Global Needs

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By Christine Ennulat
Posted on 10/12/2011

Mutiara, age 5, Indonesia
Julio, age 14, Honduras
Meron, age 17, Ethiopia

Deep in the slums of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17-year-old Meron wants to be a brain surgeon. “There are not enough of them in Addis Ababa,” she says, thinking of a brain-injured neighbor. She could very well do it — she is able to stay in school because ChildFund helps fund her uniform, fees and supplies.

Julio, 14, just finished working with his peers in a ChildFund-supported project to fix the road between his remote village and the Honduran capital. It used to wash out whenever it rained. Now, he’s looking ahead toward the next project to improve his community. “Sometimes we think only adults can do certain things,” he says, “but we can do it. Youth can do it.”

Five-year-old Mutiara attends ChildFund’s Early Childhood Development center in her Jakarta, Indonesia, slum, and her sister is a sponsored child. Mutiara loves to sing and hula-hoop. She also loves to play with her friend Ade, who, she says, is “fat and very clever.” She wants to be a teacher so that she can help people become clever like Ade.

Children like these are the key to ridding the world of poverty. As such, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, observed every Oct. 17 since the U.N. sanctioned it in 1993, is a day after ChildFund’s own heart.

The fight against poverty is the true end of our work, which we perform specifically for and through children. We know that children are the world’s greatest resource — that, if they have health, education and skills as well as the inner strength, confidence and wisdom to take full advantage of those assets, children are the key to reversing poverty.

Our work on their behalf begins before birth and extends into those all-important first thousand days. We support their educations and help them prepare for taking on leadership roles in their communities.

“The campaign to make poverty history — a central moral challenge of our age — cannot remain a task for the few, it must become a calling for the many,” said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Oct. 17, 2006. “On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I urge everyone to join this struggle. Together, we can make real and sufficient progress towards the end of poverty.”

His words continue to ring true five years later. The fight against poverty really does require many hands. ChildFund’s many supporters are actively among those working to give children the tools they need to change their own lives and their own communities. We hear from you on the phones, through email and, most energetically, through our Facebook community. It is heartening.

You can help even more, simply by promoting the specific purpose of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Help us raise awareness of the importance of ending poverty worldwide and of the need for global engagement to make it happen.

On Oct. 17, lift up your voices. Tell your friends. Tweet it, Facebook it, shout it from the rooftops.