Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Can You Survive On $1 A Day? Support The World Food Day. Make Poverty History

It is unimaginable in Singapore that anyone can possibly survive on $1 for a day as a meal at the foodcourt does not come cheaper than $3 and a bus ride from home to work place would have cost more than $1. But according to statistics, it is a fact that almost 1 billion live in poverty, with a daily income of less than $1. Even in a country where the living standards are low, I think it is still not possible to maintain basic needs such as adequate daily nutritional intake, safe drinking water, basic sanitation, a livelihood that can support survival, that can give a chance for a child to make his or her way through school, access to essential health services in a health emergency or a disease spell.

When those conditions are not met, I think that is considered as extreme poverty. We always talk about education being one of the most effective keys to overcome poverty but for the poorest, education is more like a luxury. Parents cannot afford books, uniforms, stationery etc for their children whose ability to succeed at studies might be hindered by poor living conditions and extreme hunger.

In one of the documentaries I have watched, it reported that 1 in 5 people in the world cannot read or write at all. They do not even know anything outside their hometown or the name of their country’s president. All their efforts are focused on the daily struggle to find food to survive. No overseas holiday trips. No entertainment like movies and clubbings. No McDonald’s(Their children probably do not even know the restaurant exisited). No TV. No tuition, no toys, no computer games for the children like what we have here in Singapore.

In my opinion, poverty and the lack of education together forms a vicious cycle where the poor cannot afford education, and the illiterate cannot hope to earn enough to overcome poverty. Those caught in the cycle tend to remain poor throughout their life.

But do we even need to bother about how others are suffering outside the cosy homes of ours? Our religions have taught us a lot about empathy for fellow human beings and it is time to put our learnings in humanitarianism in practice. Support The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as it celebrates World Food Day on 16 Oct 2007. Themed “The Right to Food”, the organisation aims to bring awareness of the importance of human rights in eradicating hunger and poverty and hastening and deepening the sustainable development process. Back at home, Singapore is also having an event "Stand Up and Speak Out" to demand world leaders to keep their promises to end extreme poverty.

Any little amount of donation can make a difference. I have made my donation to the World Food Programme. Have you?

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