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need to secure good employment and so their choices in adult life are greatly reduced.
Perhaps the biggest health threat ever to be seen is AIDS. A lack of sexual health education and the taboo
which surrounds the disease in under-developed countries has led to its unprecedented growth. Children
suffer emotionally from having to look after sick parents and siblings. They are denied the opportunity of
education and the freedom which childhood should bring.
The poor do not own land or businesses, don’t contribute in any major way to the development of a country and
are left out of the decision-making processes. Poor workers are at the mercy of companies whose concern is
often for profi t margins and not employees.
The poor are rarely given any kind of identity or recognition, making it extremely diffi cult for them to participate
fully in the life of a country. In Honduras, death squads murdered over 1,000 of the capitals city’s street
children in 2001.
Gang culture is rife the world over as groups of young people, who have not had the chance to participate fully
in society, are seeking acceptance and respect elsewhere.
The continual struggle of daily life can breed an attitude of fatalism amongst the world’s poorest people. As
they lose hope they also lose their capacity and will to change. Alcoholism and drug abuse can become chosen
escape routes for those in the grip of poverty induced depression.
We may not be directly responsible for the majority of the causes of poverty but as followers of Christ, who
know the God of love and reconciliation, it is our responsibility to ensure that His plans, and not those of the
world, are put into action.
Adapted from ‘Understanding Compassion’ by Renita Boyle and Kate Smith.
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