Tag Archives: Poverty

Journey117 Director Rants About Orphan Care and Orphanages

19 Oct

Are orphanages a good thing or a bad thing? Aren’t there great orphanages out there that are a good option for children? Should churches and organizations invest in orphanages around the world….or is there a better way to care for the fatherless? Lori Resmer, Journey117 director, recently blogged about orphan care and how she believes the Church is doing it all wrong. Check out her thoughts here.

Child Soldiers: Examining the Solution

26 Sep

Guest blog post by Amanda F., Team Haiti 2012

When you think of a soldier what do you see? I picture a tall, strong man. He is a fearless fighter for his government; a positive exactitude, defending freedom and rights of the people of his country. That is not the case for child soldiers around the world. A child soldier is defined as, “a person under the age of 18 who directly or indirectly participates in an armed conflict as part of an armed force or group.” This definition is very cut and dry, but the life of a child soldier is so much more than that. Some children carry assault rifles, machetes or grenades on the front lines, while others are used in “combat support” roles as messengers, spies, cooks, mine cleaners and sexual slaves. These children have not only been robbed of their childhoods, many have personally experienced or witnessed executions, death squad killings, disappearances, torture, arrest, sexual abuse, bombings, forced displacement, destruction of their homes and massacres.

A 14 year old, abducted in 2000 by the Revolutionary United Front, in Sierra Leone said, “I’ve seen people get their hands cut off, a ten yer old girl raped and then die, and so many men and women burned alive, so many times I just cried inside my heart because I didn’t dare cry out loud.” (http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/briefing/ soldiers/index.htm) This ongoing trend of child soldiers is tragic and heartbreaking. According to recent investigation, the number of children who have been coerced or induced into armed forces as child soldiers is around 300,000.  The youngest child soldiers are around 7 years old, the average age of a first grader in America. Over 50 countries currently recruit children under 18 into their armed forces and no one is spared; over 1/3 of these children are female. Continue reading

Pondering the Word ‘Orphan’

19 Sep

Blog post by Katy P., Team Haiti 2012

When I think of the word ‘orphan’, there are a lot of words that come to mind. Two of the dominate words are: starving and parent-less. There are a lot of orphans that are starving and have no parents, but there are also orphans who have to deal with much more terrifying and deadly things than that. Poverty, child labor, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, etc. are not the first things that come to mind when I think of orphans….but they should be.

Knowing that children all over the world face these kinds of terrible things makes me want to help them in any way possible. One of the reasons I am going on this trip to Haiti is to see firsthand what these kids go through on a regular basis. I want to be able to come back with a better understanding and know how to tell others what is going on and how they can help. I not only want to help with their everyday needs of clothing, food, and supplies, I want them to know that there is a loving, caring God who loves them unconditionally. He will be there no matter what happens in their lives.

On my first trip to Russia, I got to work with orphans. At one of the orphanages there were rooms with babies who never got held; they were fed by their bottles being propped up by pillows and they lay in their cribs all day staring at the ceiling. There was another room with kids that were disabled; they had all kinds of toys, but they were not allowed  to go anywhere because of their disability. In that room there was one little girl who had no legs, so she would scoot to me using her arms.  She was so happy. Another boy had no arms or legs, so he would roll to me. Still there were other rooms I could not go into because those were the rooms with the “sick” kids. I was never told what the symptoms were; all they could tell me was that the kids were very “sick.” Seeing and hearing all they went through really got to me and broke my heart. It got me thinking of what I could do and how I could tell others about how they could also help.

I realized that I am happiest when I am helping someone else. Whether it be somewhere in another country or right next door, I love working with kids. I can walk into a restaurant, store, church and anywhere else, and have a child smile or wave to me and it makes my day. I love to smile or wave back and to know that my smile or wave has made their day. It is one of the best feelings in the world.

A lot of people ask me “Why Haiti” and I honestly don’t know how to answer them. God has opened this door for me and I am going to step through it. Although I don’t know what is going to happen on this trip, I know that God has it under control, and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use me for His glory.

Katy resides in Oneida, KY and will be serving with Journey 117 in October on Team Haiti.

Turning the Page on Poverty

24 Jul

Blog post by Joe C., Team Ethiopia 2012

Poverty is at the root of so many of the injustices around the world and causes the most vulnerable in our society to be pushed further and further into the dirt.  The Bible is so clear that we caused this grave situation starting with the first choice to eat from the wrong tree.   The statistics are staggering, to the point that we’ve generally ignored them because they are so large that most of us have no frame of reference to understand them.  We can’t possibly put faces, names or identities to all those who suffer in poverty.  Although, if you go to www.poverty.com they will put faces to the people who died in the past hour from hunger.  Then you can put a name with a face.  If you watch for 24 hours, you will see on average 25,000 people died of hunger related causes in that time.  So many preventable diseases and medical conditions causing death are related to poverty, so many children sold in to slavery, prostitution or abandoned as orphans stem from people living in poverty.  The numbers are overwhelming, the reality is overwhelming, to the point where many of us get angry and bitter, we get hopeless and ineffectual or we get apathetic and ignorant in order to protect our sanity against the reality.

The Bible however, is also clear that this isn’t just a big punishment and blame game that God is playing with us because of fallen state of our species.  After he gave us the boot from a perfect creation without poverty, he said you’ll have to work hard, but I’ll provide what you need.  He actually didn’t send us into an impoverished world.  Poverty.com also says, “yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone.”   Continue reading

The Lord Will Answer Them

23 Jul

Blog post by Erin B., Team India 2012

Have you ever experienced what it is like to live in a trash dump? I haven’t and don’t want to imagine having to live that way but I have seen it first hand in Uruguay, South America. It breaks my heart to see the elderly, 4 year olds, and entire families digging through trash together to see if they can find something to sell so they will have food to eat or money to survive on. To me, looking out over a trash dump with humanity wandering about it screams of hopelessness, lack of joy, and desperation. It looks like death. The landscape is bleak. Poverty is a huge problem worldwide. The bible says that we will always have the poor among us in Matthew 26:11, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” God’s heart is to answer the poor as Isaiah 41:17 says: The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” God promises He will not forsake the poor and needy.

Orphans are impacted in a great way by poverty. Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa. Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans. Every YEAR, 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone). 143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home. Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but… Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system. Every DAY 38,493 children age out. Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home (http://thirdworldorphans.org/gpage39.html). Having orphans in the world promotes poverty because orphans lack the resources they need to have good health care, nutrition, and protection. If poverty is dealt with, there will be fewer orphans because parents will live longer due to less disease and hunger. Orphans will also have better care if they are not living in extreme poverty.  Continue reading

Just as My Children…

19 Jul

Blog post by Gemma C., Team Ethiopia 2012

Over the years I have read papers and books, watched movies and documentaries, sat in lectures, and heard many news reports telling of the many terrible things that people all over the world have to endure, day after day. There is poverty, lack of access to clean water, child labor, child soldiering, HIV/AIDS, so many factors contributing to the orphan crisis. Each of these is so difficult to think about, and so hard to understand why so many have to deal with it, but the one which inevitably hits me the most is child prostitution and child sex-trafficking. I took a little wander around the Web this evening, and 15 minutes into the stories and statistics of children abducted, put on menus and sold for sex, and I am just sick again at the realization of what goes on, and the prevalence of it.

This blog post is supposed to share statistics, quotes, stories and information to open your eyes to the reality of child sex-trafficking and exploitation. I have been staring at this screen for an hour now, my mind is reeling, and I don’t even know where to start. The statistics are easy to find, websites www.love146.org, www.sctnow.org and www.stopdemand.org are just a few out there. The sad reality is that twice while I was researching, a link for a webpage or a video was wrong, and the default pages that showed up were advertisements for prostitution and pornography. How twisted is that? Continue reading

Nadeem & Manan

17 Jul

Blog post by Naomi P., Team Ethiopia 2012

For this blog post, Namoi chose to create a PDF with graphics, stories, and information about Child Labor. Click the link to open the PDF: child_labor

Child Laborer

Naomi resides in Canada and will be serving with Journey117 this month on Team Ethiopia.