Saturday, 26 February 2011

Why Christians Should Pray For The World...

No Escape: Vulnerable Children at Risk Worldwide

In today’s society it seems incredible that with all our modern technology, medical and scientific advances, modern educational programmes and worldwide charitable organisations that there are still approximately 108 million orphaned children worldwide: often found in circumstances such as poverty, war, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, which result in millions of children every year being left to fend for themselves.

The disturbing fact is that these figures are increasing year by year and despite our best organisational efforts it would seem that that the world does not really care that 175 million children around the world have lost one or both parents to HIV, for example.

Throughout the world, many countries operate state-run orphanages, but the future of these children is far from secure. In Russia, for example, 650,000 children live in orphanages and of those children who are leaving orphanages, research shows that 40% become homeless, 20% turn to crime and 10% commit suicide.

There are thought to be at least 300,000 child soldiers currently serving in armies or militia groups worldwide: Over half of all child soldiers are said to be in Africa but notably around 70,000 are in Myanmar.

It is also claimed that around 700 million children of primary school age who do not attend school: Although more children around the world are going to school than ever before, there are still hundreds of millions of children who either don’t have the opportunity to go to school, or who drop out of school environments without ever having mastered even a basic set of cognitive skills such as, reading, writing, or arithmetic due to poverty and other socio-economic reasons.

In numerous countries, Girls in particular are more especially denied the opportunity to attend school and are often kept at home to assist in supporting their families or because they are thought of as not needing an education in those regions where girls might be forced into marriage. Furthermore, an inadequate or incomplete education leaves the children vulnerable to exploitation by abusive employers.

It has been suggested that around 42 million girls, under the age of 18, are expected to be married in the next decade: In those areas where poverty is acute, children are often seen as an economic burden and therefore, the marriage of young girls to older, or even elderly men, is believed to benefit both the child and her family, especially financially and socially.

Even more shocking by today’s standards is the fact that there are approximately 1.2 million - children being trafficked each year: According to figures published by UNICEF and other organizations such as The UK Network for World Mission, ‘Trafficking’ is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people, by means of threats, force, coercion or deception. Children that are taken in this way can be trafficked for a whole host of reasons including, sexual exploitation, or to provide cheap labour for domestic, or commercial purposes.

According to other figures released from concerned organisations in this field, many of these children are likely to end up dead within five years of initially being trafficked, often through sexual abuse and sexual diseases, or pure brutality, either at the hands of their traffickers or at the hands of those who they have been sold to.

Child victims of trafficking often come from poor families and lack economic and educational opportunities and possibly been separated from their families, In some cases these children may have minimal education, but lack vocational skills or have few job opportunities through which they may be able to fend for themselves and therefore, are most at risk.

These factors, when coupled with gender, racial or ethnic discrimination, or family insecurity caused by such things as armed conflict or natural disasters, poverty, and simply being dis-owned by those who are supposed to love and care for them, create the ideal environment for trafficking networks.

World-Trade and its effects on Poverty and Life in the slums

On the subject of Aid and world trade, Aid is reported to be a complex, political and economic issue. Whilst we of the west, recognize that the sending of Aid to many countries of the world, has many positive effects, it is equally recognized too, that Aid has also numerous potential negative consequences, particularly in areas such as political governance, human rights, dependency and its impact on local markets which also have to be taken into account.

It is now believed, that rather than seeking to apportion blame for the increases in poverty around the globe and other similar such matters, the best thing that Christians can do is to pray persistently for these situations. And in particular, pray for the leaders of Western governments that they would have wisdom and compassion and foresight, as they shape the way their countries relate to developing nations and seek to tackle world poverty correctly rather than to profit from it. We can change and do what is right so that the world will change and do what is right in the eyes of God.
Other damning factors involving poverty is that there are an estimated 1 billion people who now live in slums throughout the world. Perhaps even more startling is the fact that this figure is expected to double by 2030. Many slum areas have poor sanitation with little access to clean water and a high incidence of communicable diseases.

Once again, there are fewer job opportunities and for those who do work there are extremely poor working conditions. Another serious factor about slum areas in many countries around the world is that they often have a reputation for extreme violence often fuelled by trigger factors such as alcohol and drug abuse, this type of degenerate crime often arises out of a sense of injustice and helplessness that is clearly due to the enormous disparity of wealth.
For many mission organizations operating in these areas, showing the love of Christ to people living in such devastating circumstances, and where physical, mental and emotional needs are paramount, can be overwhelming. Nevertheless, as Christians, we need to pray for more workers to be sent to these areas of the world, and that they would be able to practically demonstrate the love of God to those people, who feel vulnerable and abandoned and without hope in this world.

For more details on these issues please visit the following links below:


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