The 4th week in October is Children’s Week! This is a week set aside to celebrate the right of children to enjoy their childhood. Children’s week encourages kids to express their skills, talents and abilities.
However, not all children live in environments that support and protect their rights. Many are abused; forced into childhood labour, sexual trafficking and early marriages. Millions of children miss out on education, health care, nutritious meals - their childhood. Poverty affects a child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development. Additionally, according to UNICEF, 22 000 children die each day due to the consequences of poverty.
In Australia 10.9 per cent of children live in relative poverty (2012) . Children are negatively affected by family violence, substance abuse, mental health concerns, lack of education and lack of healthy eating. “A picture of Australia’s children” (2005), a report released by The Australian government indicated that the health and wellbeing of children is adversely affected by the socioeconomic environments they are raised in.
In Isaiah 1:17 we see a message to the people of Israel that can be applied to our living today.
“Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend the widows and orphans and help those in need”. Isaiah 1:17 (CEV)
God values the lives of all individuals. He values the lives of the marginalised and vulnerable that societies often ignore. When living in circumstances of poverty, children are often the most vulnerable and at risk. As adults, we have a responsibility to foster safe environments for children to learn and grow. The world children inherit should be a world that we ourselves would like to live in – are we building for ourselves or for future generations?
Join Just Salvos in praying for children who are in difficult and vulnerable circumstances. These can be children of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, indigenous children (who are over represented in the justice system and health & wellbeing scale) and children affected by family violence.
What can you do?
1. You can make a difference in the life of a child by providing sponsorship. For more information visit The Salvation Army’s Child Sponsorship Department. http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/get-involved/sponsor-a-child/
Understand the rights of Children. Attached is a poster explaining the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in child friendly language. http://www.childrensweek.org.au/UN%20poster%20Jan%202008.pdf
3. Mentor a Child. KIDS HOPE AUS is an early intervention mentoring program operational in primary schools across Australia. KIDS HOPE AUS mentors help to develop social and emotional resilience in mentored children, thereby enhancing their ability to learn. For more information visit, http://www.youthmentoring.org.au/program_details.php?pgDetails=Mzg2