Increase Government Spending From 0.19% on Worldwide Poverty
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In the 1960s, close to 60% of the entire world was living in absolute poverty, a term used to describe a condition, where household income is insufficient to afford basic human needs and rights, such as food, shelter and drinkable water. Then in the 1970s, government fundings, such as unemployment benefits, allowed people to surpass the poverty line and the percentage of people living in poverty plummeted to 44% in 1981, and in 2012, this figure was further decreased to 13%. Poverty is one of the seventeen world sustainable development goals envisioned in 2016 for completion by 2030, and so far, we are doing well.
But there is still a problem.
Today, close to 836 million people are living in poverty at the moment. Africa accounts for the bulk of this amount, with close to half of the entire African population living under $2.50 a day. The poorest 40% of the world's population only accounts for 5% of the entire world's wealth, while the richest 20% accounts for the 75% of the world's wealth. If you're reading this, it's highly likely that you're in the richest 20% of the world. UNICEF reports that 22,000 children die each year due to poverty. 22,000 children, who die, before they are half or even a quarter of the age of most people reading this. Their arms are thinner than a grown man's big toe, and their legs, too weak to support themselves. Every three seconds, one of these children die from starvation.
It all seems so far away, doesn't it? In a privileged society like Australia's, poverty rates are very low. How can we possibly help someone, living over ten thousand kilometres away? But I have seen these children with my very own eyes. You see, I live in Australia, but I travel to India every year to visit my family. The last time I went there, I vividly remember seeing children sleeping on the cold, rocky walkways, with nothing but a thin sheet as insulation. I remember old men with missing limbs beg for the tiniest donation, as they sit on an old dusty road, littered with elephant droppings and stains. And most of all, I remember this young girl approach my mother. Parts of her rugged hair were tinted a light shade of brown from all the dirt it had collected. Her pants were ripping towards the bottom, and her discoloured feet were tinted a greyish yellow. She begged my mother to buy a pack of small pens, saying she hadn't eaten in three or four days. Of course, we bought it but that one visit to India made me think about all the things we take for granted in Australia. We are provided with a quality education and three meals a day. Crime rates are very low and we earn unemployment benefits if we do not have a job. So with all this, you would think Australia is doing heaps for these people living below the line.
Out of all the government spending, only 0.19% goes to overseas charities. That's 19 cents from every $100, barely enough to afford a small chocolate bar from IGA. This is doing very little for people living below the poverty line. If we continue to stay ignorant to this fact, we will never achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals, especially at the rate we're going currently. We as a nation must take a stand against this inequality. The time to act is now.
If we can get enough media attention to this, I'm sure that we can increase this figure of 0.19% to at least 1%, and perhaps more in the future.
Before every basketball team, our coach would tell us that the team is only as strong as the weakest link. This is also true with poverty, except on a much larger scale. Australia will never improve if our neighbours don't.
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