Giving hope to the weakest among us
“The ultimate criterion for gauging the integrity of society . . . is the way it treats children, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable ones.” (UNICEF)
Almost one-third of the world’s population, nearly 2 billion individuals, is under the age of 15. They face a daunting future. Their spiritual, emotional, social, and physical development are at high risk because of poverty, hunger, disease, disability, war, and exploitation.
Childhood is the most formative and strategic stage of life. Yet children are the most needy and most numerous people group on earthand the most at risk.
- Today more than 37% of the world’s children live in absolute poverty.
- Half a billion children struggle to survive on less than $1 per day.
- 246 million children work, with 171 million engaged in the worst forms of child labor.
- A million children each year are coerced into the commercial sex trade.
- 15 million children are orphaned because of AIDS.
- 8.4 million children are trapped in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution, pornography, and other illicit activities.
- 134 million have no access to any school or educational opportunity.
- 300,000 child soldiers are engaged in conflict in over 30 countries.
- 264 million children have not been immunized against any disease.
- 30,000 children die each day from preventable diseases.
A great challenge
Christians are commanded to reveal the love of Christ to a hurting world, and no group of people are hurting more than children. Their needs are enormous, their numbers are exploding, and their position in society could not be more strategicspiritually and physically. They are the future. They must be our priority.
“If children’s work is neglected you lose the next generation,” Patrick Johnstone said. “Ignore children and sacrifice the future.”
And George Barna has rightly stated: “If you want to have a lasting influence upon the world you must invest in people’s lives; and if you want to maximize your investment, then you must invest in those lives while they are young.”