Poverty: Leading Cause of Orphans

13 Apr

Blog post by Saundra P., Team Haiti 2011

Poverty is the leading cause of worldwide orphaned and abandoned children.

What is poverty to an orphan you might ask? Would you say it is a lack of basic human needs such as food, clean water, clothing and shelter? Or would you say it is a lifestyle of deprivation, a denial of choices and opportunities and a violation of human dignity? Worldwide poverty to an orphan is all of these things. An orphaned and abandoned child is impoverished and subject to hunger, homelessness, and disease. Because of their poverty, an orphan receives little or no education and poor or nonexistent healthcare. The orphan feels unloved, insecure, and destitute and is generally shunned by society.Whose responsibility is it to love and care for these orphaned children? It is the church’s responsibility. The church is you and me. What can we as the church do to stop the worldwide poverty which is the driving factor behind orphaned children? We can stop the oppression of the poor. Poverty occurs when there is loss of livelihood as a result of economic recession or because of a disaster or conflict, such as an earthquake or war. Worldwide poverty can be reduced through economic growth. In developing countries, the poor are not given the economic freedom to own property. Due to restrictive state regulations and lack of financial services, the poor cannot purchase land and because of these barriers they cannot participate effectively in society. When there is a natural disaster or war in a developing country, the poor become victims and live with contaminated water, no access to food, destruction of property, homelessness, loss of jobs, and little or no healthcare. Violence breaks out when an affected country has poor infrastructural and lack of governmental concern for the welfare of the people. This leads to crime and corruption. Disaster relief and aid that is largely sent in by a donor country is stolen by corrupt governments and agencies…OR aid is tied to a donating nation that requires that a receiving nation spend on products and services that originated from the donating country. US law requires that food aid given to any country is to be spent on food grown in the United States, instead of the country where the starving live. This results in half of the funds that are spent on aid is used in transporting the food to the country that is in need of it. A better idea is for the US to spend aid on helping a country in need by reestablishing agriculture trade and industrialization in the developing country. If we as the church fought against corruption by becoming advocates for the poor and worked side by side with them to reestablish their communities, we can then stop the vicious cycle of poverty and help the poor to become productive members of society.

The vicious cycle of poverty is the leading cause of worldwide orphaned and abandoned children. In third world countries, the poor, by their poverty, is excluded and powerless in society and become fueled by whatever means necessary for them to survive. To live in this unfriendly and uncaring environment, often at a young age, the poor become enslaved as indentured servants or enter into prostitution. Poverty causes the poor to have lower life expectancy due to malnutrition, AIDS, violence and disease. As a result of their parent’s disease and death, the children of the poor become orphaned and abandoned. For these children to survive, they do as their parents did: they become servants and forced into a life of servitude or prostitution and the cycle of poverty begins again.

After reading all of this, have you been moved into action and accept the church’s responsibility of caring for the poor, the fatherless and the widows? Are you going to go forward with me and help me stop the awful cycle of orphaned and abandoned children? How much longer are we as the church going to wait to do what our Father has already called the church to do? I challenge you to open up your Bible and read the 2000 verses that show God’s grace, love and mercy toward the poor, the orphan and the widow.

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18.

Saundra will be serving on the Haiti 2011 Journey 117 team in May . She currently lives in Orlando, Florida.


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