I’ve always had such a love and appreciation for children. They are the future voices and innovators of all societies, and it kills me to know that children all over the world are brought into unfortunate situations against their freewill, being born into impoverished societies that remain caught in poverty traps. Although the country of Pakistan is far from ranking highest in regards to economic inequality throughout the world (see diagram below), there is definitely still a large gap between the wealthy and the poor. According to the United Nations Global Report on Human Settlements in 2003 there were 20.6 million homeless people in Pakistan, and as of 2014 it has been reported that there are 1.5 Million Homeless Children. To put it into some sort of perspective, there were 610,042 people reported to be homeless in the United States in 2013, with 138,149 being children (Henry, 2013).
(This is a Gini Index diagram which represents national income equality around the world. The light yellow represents close to 100% economic equality, while the black represents 100% inequality, where one person has all the income. Pakistan falls toward the lower end of the spectrum – toward more economic equality.)
With poverty comes many hardships like inadequate access to healthcare, education, or safe housing. To me, these are the largest and most obvious outcomes associated with poverty. Along with these difficulties lie other struggles among the 1.5 million children such as addiction, abuse, and gang violence. I want to know, how did all of these children end up in this situation? Each child has their own story. Some had connections with their families at one point in time, others were abandoned at birth. I would like to dig deeper into every possible aspect surrounding the life of a homeless child. Due to the fact that I’m only able to spread my research out across 4 blog posts I wanted to separate all of the information I’m learning into several subcategories of how poverty impacts Pakistani children. I will focus on healthcare access and education, abuse and addiction, as well as housing and how they found their way on to the streets in the first place. I will finish off my blog postings by delving into some of the organizations that have been developing for some time now that help bring in Pakistani children off the streets and teach them the skills meant to bring trust, hope, and stability back into their hearts and minds.
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I decided to solidify my research of how poverty can effect children by only focusing on one particular country. For this I chose Pakistan. In all honesty I did not choose Pakistan for any particular reason other than that I have some good friends who were raised in Karachi, Pakistan and I wanted to further my understanding of the different social classes and inequalities within the country. There are many different sources that I’ll be using, but mainly I will use a 2015 field research report called The State of Children in Pakistan, which was funded by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). There is also an online Pakistani newspaper called “Dawn” that I’ll be taking articles from, along with information from American newspapers.
United States. US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Office of Ommunity Planning and Development. The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. By Meghan Henry. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Https://www.hudexchange.info/. Web.
United States. United Nations. Global Report on Human Settlments 2003. Sterling. VA: EarthScan Publications, 2003. Web
Gini Coefficient World CIA Report. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., 12 July 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.