Ending Child Poverty and Supporting Vulnerable Children
Extreme poverty is the gravest global injustice of our time, especially as the world has enough resources for everyone, but that they are grossly and unjustly distributed. According to the World Bank, 1 in 6 children live in extreme poverty –a situation that was worsened by COVID-19.
At its fourth global forum in 2012, the GNRC members formally committed themselves to ending child poverty. Thus, the Arigatou International initiative End Child Poverty was born. GNRC works closely with End Child Poverty to mobilize resources, interfaith advocacy, and grassroots action to overcome poverty.
Education: According to UNICEF, more than 171 million people would be lifted out of extreme poverty if all children received essential reading, numeracy, and writing skills. Education is critical to escaping chronic poverty and the generational curse of poverty. GNRC members globally have dedicated their time to providing children and youth with relevant theoretical and practical skills through scholarships and voluntary teaching, especially in low-income areas.
For example, GNRC Malaysia, in collaboration with I CAN Malaysia, regularly offers English lessons to children under 12 years old living in refugee camps. GNRC Sri Lanka members, in conjunction with the End Child Poverty initiative, have opened an empowerment center, Meethotamulla, where they provide lessons and educational materials for children in grades one to thirteen. To celebrate End Child Poverty’s 10th anniversary, the Sri Lanka Country Coordinator shortlisted ten children from five districts for high school scholarships.
Sensitization and Awareness: Sensitization and awareness motivate rights holders to act on child poverty. In Kenya, GNRC members, in partnership with ten other organizations, organized a roundtable discussion on the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods. Participants came up with a list of recommendations for implementation to alleviate the situation for children.
GNRC Serbia, in partnership with Sombor Educational Center, also organized a member’s workshop on child poverty and COVID-19. Members, parents, and volunteers used the opportunity to collect school supplies for poor students.
In Macedonia, GNRC members and the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi, organized a program to create awareness on the consequences of poverty — in connection with the Ukraine war — on child development.
Flagship projects: Children’s Solution’s Lab is a meaningful space and participatory process for children from different backgrounds that was launched in 2020 by GNRC and the End Child Poverty Initiative. It brings children together in discussion on the impacts of poverty and provides a platform for them to propose solutions to child poverty. In 2020, the lab reached 2,000 children from 23 countries, including India, Cuba, Peru, Kenya, and Serbia.
India Poverty Solution is a unique child-led initiative aimed at ending child poverty. End Child Poverty and GNRC members in India partnered with Shanti Ashram to launch the India Poverty Solutions lab. This thriving initiative aims to mobilize 1,000,000 children and volunteers to take practical action to reduce poverty. The program also offers scholarships to ensure that children receive quality education.
GNRC Colombia is implementing community and family gardens in the provinces of Soacha, and Bogota. Members provide agricultural training to vulnerable families across the crop-growing cycle: from buying seeds to planting, growing, family consumption and marketing skills. The gardens have already impacted over 100 families by addressing malnutrition and generating income for basic livelihoods.
Since 2016, GNRC Montenegro has been rallying professionals in the community to provide free psychosocial support for children living with disability. Children receive free sessions with volunteer psychologists and speech therapists. In 2021, 21 families with children living with disabilities were supported.
Impactful partnerships: GNRC members frequently partner with other like-minded organizations. In Sri-Lanka, during the COVID-19 pandemic, GNRC members partnered with Sarvodaya to set up a community kitchen to serve more than 1,000 people from vulnerable families. Similarly, GNRC Bhutan organized several donation drives with local schools to provide stationery, food, and clothes to needy students.
Advocacy: GNRC provides tools and knowledge to its members at regional, national, and global levels to advocate for the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030. The End Child Poverty initiative also facilitates advocacy campaigns through three global events — the International Day for Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) (October 17), the International Day for Children (November 20), International Day for Peace (September 21) and the Day of the African Child in Africa.