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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poverty: A Disease That Prevails Even Abroad

Poverty is like a bad, scary movie.
It doesn't seem real, not until it happens to you. Poverty in Third World developing countries is widespread and opens your eyes to reality. Street children and homeless people are increasing in number day by day. We catch a glimpse of almost naked children plying the streets for food and for shelter.

Sometimes they even resort to drastic means to satiate their hunger pangs. Child prostitution and sex slavery are usually caused because of poverty. But do we truly care? We read about them, sometimes watch these stories on TV; but does the story make the front pages? Do we do anything to help these people?

How many of us would stop by and help a person in dire need? How many of us would even dare to help one of these unlucky people or feel it was our business to do so?

We drive in our air-conditioned cars and close our windows so we would not be bothered by what is happening outside our safe cocoon. We pretend not to notice anything amiss when we happen to pass by a crawling, hungry child.

We watch in horror as children recount what horrible things they had to go through to be able to feed their hungry siblings, but we never do anything that would, in one way or another, help these miserable lot.

For those residing in more developed countries: have you ever donated to charity any amount to show your support? Have you, at any point in your life, given something from your heart to needy and indigent people?

This need not be material. You can share your time, your knowledge or your sympathetic ear; or are you one of those who shrug their shoulders and say, "Who cares?" and go on their daily, merry way?

It is this apathy which causes poverty to be "not-news worthy" on the agenda of news "makers".

It does not bother you because it does not concern you. You can't understand because you haven't experienced waking up in the morning with a gnawing, hungry stomach. Poverty will be important news to you, only when you'll find yourself among these indigent people someday.

Then - it will be real for you.

You must remember that life is like a wheel. Sometimes you'll be up and sometimes you'll be down. Why wait for poverty to become your own important news story? Be generous to help while you have the means. Help alleviate poverty by contributing in your own little way and by showing the news media that this is an issue important enough to address.

Your contribution maybe in kind or in whatever form you can afford, as long as it's heartily given. You need not be rich to do this: old clothing could help the homeless woman across the street; contribute to help feed the poor; or better yet, help all those whom you can recommend for a decent job. Teach a man how to fish and you would have helped him for the rest of his life.

Poverty should always be an important news story to you and to the society we live in. Be concerned and make this your headline news. Don't wait for it to be knocking at your doorstep before you decide to help. As the cliche goes: "Ensuring the welfare of others is ensuring your welfare as well." When society accepts this fact, perhaps the poverty problem will be given due attention by the media.

Photo by Ahron de Leeuw