When speaking of poor children, many people in the industrialized countries imagine the children that suffer from wars and hunger in a distant part of the world. However, according to “Report Card 10”, the latest study from UNICEF’s Office of Research, there are tens of million children suffering from poverty right here in the rich countries. And though some argue that poor people sometimes can “be blamed” for their own situation, this is never the case for poor children. They are the most vulnerable citizens of our world, and should always be protected.
“We are the world. We are the children”. This song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985, to raise awareness of the situation in some countries in Africa. In some rich nations, I think it is about time to start singing the song again. Of course, to remember the children of Africa, but also to remember the child poverty in rich countries. Because there are huge differences in the way these countries, with somewhat similar financial resources, protect their children. According to UNICEF, a child that lives in poverty experiences deprivation of several resources, both material and emotional, that is considered necessary to survive and develop into participating and equal members of society. This child deprivation rate, according to their research, varies from 80 % in Romania to 3 % in the Northern European Countries and the Netherlands. In most of the industrialized world, this rate is below 10 %. In my opinion, 10 % is still a too high rate of deprivation. All countries should prioritize their children. I understand, however, that it is not all that simple. Not all countries have the same possibilities in doing so. For example, the financial situation in Romania is different from the one in the Netherlands. Why is the rate of deprivation three times higher in Portugal than in the Czech Republic, when the two countries have approximately the same income per capita? I don’t know. But some action needs to be taken. Obviously, the countries with a high rate of deprivation cannot only blame their financial situation. That explanation is simply not good enough. I wish that the rich countries would do better.