Poverty effects the well being of people in many different ways. Malnutrition is one of the major effects, which in turn causes other issues. It impacts severely on the ability to stay healthy and fend off disease. This impacts significantly on the ability to earn an income. They are also less able to protect themselves from life’s hardships because they have no access to saving, borrowing or insurance facilities.
It is against that background, that we understand how the Australian government cut of $2.9 billion could potentially impact people and cost 200 000 lives of those in the developing world. These figures are backed by both Save the Children Australia and World Vision Australia research.
The wealth of the world is held by very few with the world’s 225 richest people having a combined wealth of $1 trillion, which is equal to the combined annual income of the world’s 2.5 billion poorest people. Those in the wealthier segments of the Australian community gave less to charity due to the effects they felt from the global financial crisis. Millionaires have decreased by almost 75% the amounts they are giving to charity. Nearly 65% of taxpayers fail to give anything of consequence.
Even the loose change that fills our pockets, which we spend on all manner of fast food and coffees, could make a real difference in the lives of people in the Third World. Those receiving our single unemployment payment of $12732.20 per year are rated in the top 12.72% of incomes worldwide.
There are many groups that are seeking to assist Australians to use the loose change that we collect in more productive ways. YGAP is one of these with its five cent campaign. With these funds, they are supporting food programs in Australia, education in Bangladesh and Rwanda, programs that deal with the issues of sex trafficking in Cambodia and child slavery in Ghana. They provide over 1.2 million vulnerable Australians with fresh food that would otherwise be discarded, as $5.2 billion of food is dumped every year, basic and universal education in the countries of Rwanda and Bangladesh, resourcing to groups of former sex slaves to assist them in rediscovering their self worth and financing vulnerable families in Ghana to irradiate their need to sell their children.
Another group focused on giving one dollar a day, which is loose change to us but is also the measure of absolute poverty as determined by the United Nations. More than one billion or one in every six people live on one dollar a day or less. One dollar a day could make the difference between life and death for 30 000 of these people. These deaths could be prevented with some basic education in health care and hygiene.
Those in positions of poverty however, know how to pool their resources for maximum effect. We too if we pool our donations can make a significant effect. If we all emptied our pockets of our loose change and put that money towards supporting those in need what a difference we could make in the world.
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