Kids in Crisis FAQs
I once met a boy1 who shared how he searches the alleys of Kampala from dawn to dusk, collecting discarded cardboard boxes. He visits the alleyways behind the local market stalls, picking up cardboard that once held soap, sodas or other items. Sometimes, he’ll “strike gold” and find a giant TV box.
When he’s gathered several boxes, he brings them to the sprawling downtown marketplace, known as Owino Market, and sells them to the shoe salesmen. They cut the cardboard into sole-size pieces and slide the cardboard into the footwear to help the shoes keep their shape.
If Kandwanaho works for 12-hours, he makes the equivalent of one US dollar.
Sometimes he roams the streets all day and does not find a single box to recycle. On those days, he has nothing to eat unless he digs through the garbage piles to search for scraps of discarded food, competing with stray dogs and chasing away the cockroaches.
For many kids in crisis like him, the most challenging time is nightfall when the city’s hectic rhythm abates. It’s like everyone returns home, except for the kids who live on the streets. They have nobody, and nowhere to go. Dusk is their cue to find a drainage ditch or empty shack for the night. It’s their hour to search piles of trash for any food discarded at the end of the day.
In Uganda, because street boys are viewed by many business owners as thieves and troublemakers, they’re chased off, beaten up and, in extreme cases, even murdered. The reality that human life is cheap and expendable on Kampala’s volatile streets is clearly evident for these kids in crisis.
As the lowest of the low, street kids are most often the “whipping boys” when anything goes wrong. My contact tearfully told me that a group of his friends were once caught stealing copper pipes they intended to sell. They were kicked in the head, beaten unconscious, soaked in gasoline and set on fire. At their burial in a paupers’ graveyard, street boys were the only mourners present.
Street children in Uganda are just one example of the many kids in crisis around the world. Children face overwhelming challenges with child labor, child exploitation, gender inequality in school, child marriage and many other issues. You can read about many of these topics on the page below.
Child labor in the fashion industry is prevalent throughout the garment-making process. Children are often used to pollinate cotton plants, harvest the cotton, spin yarn, cut fabric, dye cloth, sew on buttons, embroider, fold and pack.
Child exploitation is defined as the act of “using a minor child for profit, labor, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage. Child exploitation often results in cruel or harmful treatment of the child, as the activities he or she may be forced to take part in can cause emotional, physical, and social problems.”
Girl education charities provide crucial help and opportunities to keep girls in school. Many girls will not regularly attend classes or finish school if they do not have the appropriate resources and support. Education builds confidence in girls and offers them opportunities to learn, grow and hope.
In some communities in Asia, gender bias has a strong influence on children from the moment a child is born. This bias appears in many areas of life, especially in school and at home. Gender inequality in school in South Asia generally impacts females more than males.
Girl education charities provide crucial help and opportunities to keep girls in school. Many girls will not regularly attend classes or finish school if they do not have the appropriate resources and support.
Children should be asked questions about what they want to be when they grow up or what class at school they like the best. Children should not be treated for machete wounds from working long, difficult hours in sugar plantations. Their childhood stolen, these youth grow up with the lifelong negative effects of child labor.
Child labor is any “…work performed by a child that is likely to interfere with his or her right to education, or to be harmful to his or her health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” Child labor examples are prevalent in agriculture, mining, factories and more.
Two hundred million girls might be alive today if they weren’t, well, girls. That is how many female babies and girls the United Nations estimates have died because they were not born male and were rejected by their families.
A country’s history, culture and social stratification all contribute to the access girls have to education in their country. Girls in developing countries have the least access to education than other places in the world and face more obstacles in receiving and maintaining educational opportunities.
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, in part, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms,” and, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Any action against any human who does not conform to this standard is a violation of basic human rights worldwide. This answers our question of what is exploitation.
Child labor is any: “…work performed by a child that is likely to interfere with his or her right to education, or to be harmful to his or her health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” So why is child labor bad? Childhood is a fundamental time for children’s physical, mental and emotional development. Child labor deprives children of opportunities to go to school, play with friends and thrive as children.
For the many underprivileged kids in Asia, charity may be the only way out of their struggles. Poverty affects around 736 million people globally, many of them children, and the global poverty rate rose to 9.3% in 2020 versus an 8.4% rate in 2019. Many of the people living under this global poverty line are children.
Over 250 million women in Asia are illiterate. Much data indicates that learning to read and write is one of the great miracle cures of poverty. When you sponsor a girl’s education, you are providing a resource that will impact her for life. It will also impact her family and community for generations to come.
Child labor around the world is heartbreaking. Families in desperate situations have to make difficult decisions about their family’s welfare, choosing to put their children to work instead of putting them in school. Or the family becomes indentured, and the children have to help pay off the debt. Or a child is stolen by human traffickers.
How many children are in poverty? UNICEF estimates more than 1 billion children are multidimensionally poor, lacking the necessities like nutrition or clean water, and it’s estimated that 356 million children live in extreme poverty worldwide. There are various types of poverty and all of them are key factors in the fight against child poverty.
In many parts of Africa and South Asia, hope for children is being offered through many organizations, including GFA World. Sometimes, this hope is delivered through tangible help like clean water wells, education and medical care.
The question “what is child labor?” may seem outdated, a problem that belongs in the last couple of centuries rather than today. Since its zenith in the Industrial Revolution, child labor has rightly seen opposition, but it is still a major problem across the globe.
Poverty is a complicated, multifaceted problem, so there are more than just 5 ways to reduce poverty, but GFA World has several tried-and-true methods that are breaking the cycle of poverty for families all over the world.
In recent years, numerous organizations have conducted extensive research on the effects of poverty on child development, revealing a grim reality. According to UNICEF, an alarming statistic emerges—children make up half of the global population struggling to survive on less than $2.15 per day.
Africa is home to one-fifth of the world’s population—about 1.2 billion people—and half of the African populace is under the age of 15. With the presence of significant poverty in many of the nations on the continent, there is also great need and opportunity to sponsor a child in Africa.
Child sponsorship, a philanthropic practice with a rich history, has been adopted and adapted by Christian ministries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide. This practice offers a lifeline to underprivileged children, providing them with education, sustenance, and other essential benefits that they might otherwise never have access to.
Despite development and progress, gender inequality—especially in education—still affects many around the world, so choosing to sponsor a girl can make a big impact. Globally, about 129 million girls are not in school. This includes 30 million girls of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age and 67 million of upper-secondary school age. The reasons for this are numerous and vary between countries and communities.
1 Lukins, Julian. “Children in Crisis: The World’s Greatest ‘Badge of Shame'”. GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/children-at-risk-kids-in-crisis/. January 22, 2022