Today is Blog Action Day 2008, a day in which bloggers throughout the world are blogging about a single issue - poverty. It is the hope of the organizers that this concerted effort will raise awareness about this important issue, lead to increased donations to groups combating poverty, and, ultimately, lead to some real changes. I am happy to be a part of this year’s effort.
While many of us this week are concerned about our shrinking 401(k) accounts, the situation is much more dire for millions of people throughout the world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 37.3 million Americans were living in poverty in 2007 and over 45 million Americans lacked health insurance. Nearly 1 in 4 African Americans are living in poverty.
According to Global Issues, over 3 billion people worldwide live on less than $2.50 a day. Every day, the deaths of 25,000 to 30,000 children can be attributed to poverty.
Inadequate financial resources also contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS. In the US, HIV/AIDS increasingly is becoming a disease of lower socio-economic classes. Throughout the world, women who are not economically independent or empowered are more likely to engage in survival sex, or the exchange of sex for food, clothing, or shelter. One study in North Carolina found that roughly 28% of street youths engaged in some form of survival sex. In some parts of the world, children in impoverished families may be forced into a marriage with an older man. In this situation, the girls or young women are not in a position to abstain from sex or practice safer sex. In these situations, the children and young women clearly have an increased risk of becoming infected with HIV.
So what can we do? Each of us can contribute to groups who advocate for the poor. Each of us can contact our elected representatives and urge them to support the Millenium Development Goals, a United Nations program to eliminate poverty by 2015. Each of us can write about this issue and talk about this issue. Each of us can help a neighbor in need.
To find out how other bloggers are addressing poverty, please visit the Blog Action Day web site.