Monday, September 8, 2014

A Thought on Child Poverty

I have read in the newspaper about influential people organising a march into the city to raise the awareness of child poverty on Sunday. Mind you, I was also in poverty when I was a child – had  my parent not provided for me because I could not work and did not earn anything in my own right. If I was left on the street as a child, I would not have survived. Unless you were entitled to some trust funds since the day you were born, you were quite likely to be in poverty too when you were a child in that sense. Children in general cannot take action themselves so it falls on their guardians to lift them out of poverty.

That’s why I think it is not such a good term to use, this Child Poverty thing. New Zealand will not leave their own citizens, children and grown ups, die of hunger as in some countries. We have a welfare system in place to make sure that people will get by in difficult times of their lives. Children will have access to the system through their parents or guardians. Not only that, we also have a system called “Working for Family” so that taxpayers with less children(or no children) and less income can fund people with more children and more income. So it is not child poverty as such – it’s the responsibility of parents and guardians to make sure that this welfare is passed on to the young ones that they should look into. Instead of spending money to organise such a march (placards, drinks, police, press conference and ahem television airtime, etc.. oh, and don't forget the outfits for the occasion!), it would have been better if the organisers spend the money setting up a programme to feed and clothe and educate the children they think are at risk, IMHO.

Take the example of my old school friend, Sasha, who has seen the real poverty amongst the hill tribe people in Northern Thailand where helps from the authority and welfare system rarely extend. Her frustration has turned into actions not demonstration. She co-founded Toys for Thailand to raise funds for these children. Money and energy go directly to the children without waste. She marches – but up the hills to the villages with other volunteers to build school facilities and playgrounds.

This blog is aimed to be apolitical and this subject should also be read as such.

Note: The picture above is from T4T.

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