Image by ocean.flynn via FlickrToday is World Poverty Day, otherwise known as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Hilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for International Development, has this to say on this important day:
"Today is the UN’s official World Poverty Day. But every day is poverty day for the two billion people worldwide who have less than two dollars a day to live on. Of those, just under one billion live on just one dollar a day. In September 2000, 189 countries pledged to halve the number of those in poverty by 2015. When we look at the results so far, hope mixes with despair. Over 100 million children are still unable to go to school. Each year, 10 million children die before their 5th birthday. 40 million are living with HIV and AIDS, and 5 million die of it each year.
"And yet … progress is possible. China is reducing poverty, and India promises to do the same. More people have been lifted out of poverty in the last 50 years than in the previous 500. In the same period, adult illiteracy rates have halved, and life expectancy in developing countries has increased from 46 in 1960 to 64 now. The fight against global poverty can and must be won.
There is much to celebrate and yet so much more to do in the global effort to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (see the top of this blog for the list). There are bright spots, however, as an increasing number of people learn about the fight. This month, Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE, was featured in the October 6 edition of Newsweek magazine as one of 10 "Women in Leadership." CARE is one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, focusing especially on working alongside poor women because, according to CARE, "women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.:
So, on this World Poverty Day, lets think about what it must be like to live on the equivalent of one, or even two, dollars a day. Of course, very few of us truly can imagine it because we have the luxury of taking our next meal for granted. So, even if you can't imagine what it is like, imagine what you can do to make a difference. How can you get involved? Check out the links in the right column of this blog for some examples of organizations that could use your help. Get involved! You'll be glad you did!