Tag Archives: global poverty

A Christmas gift

23 Dec

In all the last minute rush to buy presents, it can be difficult to find time or space to think about those around the world living today/Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Boxing Day in a poverty from which they cannot escape. Those with no presents/turkey/family/home. For whom Christmas Day is just another day, with no break in the monotony of poverty and injustice.

So, rather than feeling guilty, why don’t we do something to help them?

At the moment, I am chatting with a few friends about setting up an initiative in memory of my friend JJ, a long-term street kid who recently died from AIDS-related TB. I do not want JJ to be forgotten. I do not want other street kids to be ignored, forgotten or silenced any more. So we have been talking about what we could do to break the cycle of street life and street death.

JJ had a daughter, a little girl born just weeks before his death. I want to make sure that she does not end up on the streets, like her Dad and her grandmother. So one little thing we are going to do is set up a trust fund for her – to ensure she can go to school and be given the best possible chance in life.

If you would like to, you could make a donation to help us get the trust fund up and running this Christmas. Just £5 would make a real difference, £5o would make a massive difference.

If you would like to know more and/or make a donation, please email me on beccamcgowanuk@gmail.com or contact me on Facebook/Twitter. I’d love to hear from you. Let’s do something – just a little thing – to challenge injustice over Christmas 2011.

Happy Christmas!

JJ’s old bedroom

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Perspective, part II

9 Dec

As we get that festive feeling – only 16 sleeps til Christmas – maybe it’s good to put it all in perspective. This is what I found out today.

This Christmas…

…1 billion people (yes, you read that right) do not have access to safe, clean drinking water

…34 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, 2.7 million of these were infected last year

…15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS-related diseases so far

…162 million people are trying to survive on less than $0.50 a day

…11 million children are estimated to live on the streets in India

…34,ooo children and 16,000 adults die every day of hunger or PREVENTABLE diseases

…the top 1% earners in Britain now earn 14.3% of national income, compared to 7.3% in 1970

…half the world’s children will go to bed hungry tonight

So, in light of these damning statistics, I support those who are trying to help us wake up to these realities. For too long in the West, we have been able to press the snooze button and carry on consuming – shopping more, eating more, caring (it would seem) less. As I wrote yesterday, times may well be a-changing. But I hope that meeting our own needs will not prevent us reaching out to others – a report out this week highlighted that we seem to be becoming more selfish and less altruistic as the purse strings tighten. Compassion is seemingly on the decline.

I also read today that it would cost an estimated $7-10 billion to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. In 2005, Britons spent $6 billion on alcohol and $3.2 billion on ice-cream. I hope that, this Christmas, our hunger and thirst spread outwards from ourselves so that we choose to invest in ending the spread of HIV/AIDS rather than another bottle of wine.

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