#86 Sponsor a child

When I drew up the neverendinglist, this was one of the first items that I added to it. I firmly believe that the script for life can only be enhanced by sharing life with others. I am extremely fortunate to have been born in the developed world. I have a solid roof over my head, running water, food, vaccinations, education and health care as standard. It was only after I started doing a bit of research for this one that it truly hit home how lucky I am and how much we take for granted in our daily lives.

Today a welcome pack arrived through the letterbox via the Action Aid sponsor a child programme to introduce me and my boys to our designated child from Haiti. On the 12th of January 2010, Haiti was hit my a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 magnitude. Before the earthquake Haiti was already ranked 145th of 169 countries on the United Nations Development Index with more than 70% of the population living on less than $2 US Dollars a day. Nearly 3,500,000 people were affected by the quake with 220,000 estimated to have lost their lives. The aftermath saw an outbreak of Cholera in October 2010 and by July 2011 5899 of the 216,000 people infected had died from the disease.

Once the richest country in the developing world, Haiti has emerged from decades of dictatorship and instability as one of the poorest. Democracy has had little effect on meeting the basic needs and rights of the majority of the population. The earthquake and aftermath means that many thousands of people are struggling on a day to day basis. Widespread corruption and issues surrounding land ownership, means many people are still living in temporary shelters, women are facing abuse and violence, and crime is rife.

Health problems are widespread, with high infant mortality and over a quarter of children malnourished. Services are desperately inadequate and families in isolated areas may have to travel for up to a day to reach the nearest hospital. Haiti has the lowest school enrolment and literacy rates in the Americas. 80% of Haiti’s people live off the land with farming families vulnerable to drought and flash flooding which can lead to famine. Many of these people are forced to migrate to the neighbouring Dominican Republic to find work. Despite the many problems experienced by people in poor communities, there is hope. Action Aid works with local people to resolve these issues and bring lasting improvements to the lives of children and families in Haiti.

For the sacrifice of 4.5 pints of beer a month or the odd take away, a young girl called Youlminia now gets a head start. I’m conscious that it is only 50p a day and only one child, but it’s good to know that by forfeiting this shiny seven sided coin each day that child will receive some of the basic needs that we too readily take for granted each and every day. It certainly seemed to have the full support of my boys as they rushed off to pen their first letter, it’s also educating them at that same time which can’t be a bad thing!

To date this is the most rewarding item on the list, so go on sponsor a child today and change their life for the better.


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