When faced with poverty, it is difficult for kids to stay naive. In the Brazilian slum City of God shown in the movie under the same name, murders and robberies occur on a daily basis. A drug empire thrives in the slum teeming with drug addicts. Gunfights occur daily and innocent children are killed.
Child poverty is both a cause and an effect of youth crime in Brazil and abroad. Because the youth in low-income families are deprived of material needs and excluded from society, they believe that they do not have a chance to succeed. Thus, they become hostile toward the world and commit crimes for money or out of anger. Engaging in crimes instead of going to school in turn makes them uneducated, leading to a vicious cycle of poverty.
Contrary to what some might believe, child poverty exists even in the richest cities in the industrialized world. Though Korea is now a developed country, it has a child poverty rate of 10.27 percent. While industrialization led to economic development, it also created a class of working poor in urban areas. Currently, 19.7 percent of children in Seoul are in poverty. In fact, many of them live in poor housing, are malnourished, have low academic achievement, and even commit crimes. In 2012, 87.9 percent of youth crime in the city of Bucheon was caused by children in poverty. Regardless of where it exists, child poverty arouses youth’s anger about having unequal access to opportunities. Although they commit crimes, they nevertheless hope to leave the dangers of the slum, receive education, and become socioeconomically successful.
Child poverty is an issue that has its causes and implications on a global scale. It is directly linked to poverty which is experienced locally but results from global causes. Poverty also influences people globally in the form of drugs, diseases, migration, terrorism, and political instability. Therefore, people from developed nations have an obligation to eliminate worldwide child poverty as they have provided the cause and can be impacted by the issue.
The government, companies, and international organizations can each play their part in reducing poverty. First, the government can enact policies to help impoverished children who are deprived of daily necessities. It can also provide conditional cash transfers to parents of low-income households. For instance, grants for school fees and supplies, food, and health care can be given under the condition that the kids make regular visits to the health clinic. Finally, the government can provide incentives to companies that help to reduce child poverty. For instance, it can allow tax cuts to companies that grant need-based scholarships.
Furthermore, international organizations can help solve child poverty as well. Since child poverty is an outgrowth of parents’ poverty, they can start income-generation projects for parents of impoverished families. For instance, they can teach occupational skills or establish a microcredit division that gives small loans for unemployed parents to start their business. These programs are fundamental solutions to child poverty that enable adults to get a job to support their family.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Poverty is manmade and can be overcome by the actions of human beings.”
The government and companies should acknowledge that they are responsible for child poverty and cooperate more with international organizations to tackle the issue. Also, individuals should be aware that child poverty is not a remote issue but a problem that affects world security. Children are our future. However, they are neglected because they are the weakest member of the society. It is not too late for people to realize that child poverty equals future global poverty.