It is estimated that 1.4 billion (one in four) people in the developing world live on less than $1.25 a day. Half the people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty, as do 40% of people in South Asia.
The effects of poverty reach far beyond hunger. Malnutrition puts people at higher risk for HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Poverty makes children vulnerable to trafficking and human slavery.
And it hurts more than basic thirst. Worldwide, 1 billion people lack access to clean water. Diarrheal disease, which is often caused by drinking contaminated water, kills 1.8 million people annually.
Life expectancy in some countries where we serve is 20 years shorter than in the U.S.
Poverty’s most innocent victims are children—including those who are just a few years old doing hard labor, just to earn enough to eat. Imagine sending your child out to a factory or field, or even a garbage dump, to work each day, knowing they would otherwise starve. Instead of going to school, these vulnerable children are in danger and at risk of being exploited.
About 27% of all children in developing countries are underweight or stunted.
According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty—that’s one child every 3.6 seconds. Many of these boys and girls die without fanfare, but quietly in poor villages.
Here’s the good news: all of this is preventable.
World Concern works in the world’s poorest countries, attacking poverty at its roots and implementing changes and improvements that will last long term. We dig wells and teach people the importance of clean water and good hygiene. We provide seeds and tools to plant farms, and show people how to raise livestock. We educate children and train adults to start businesses and save money. We immunize children and protect them from disease. We give people reasons to plan for their futures. Reasons to live. Our goal is to lift people out of poverty—permanently.
We’re a Christian organization, called to serve those who are poor and vulnerable, showing our faith in word and deed. We here at World Concern consider this work is a personal calling, and see that it is close to the heart of God.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:37-40
When asked what she would ask God, if he were sitting beside her, Nuu, a former prostitute, began to cry.
“Where were you when I was young?” she said, as tears streamed down her cheeks. “If I had had help when I was young, I know it would have saved me from taking the wrong path.”
Fortunately, Nuu recently entered a safe haven, a Christian rehab shelter for former prostitutes supported by World Concern in the coastal city of Pattaya, Thailand.
Though her journey is filled with tragic dead-ends, wrong turns and missed opportunities, to grasp the enormity of her present anguish is to know how and where her path began.