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A new lens for understanding what poverty is and the real impact it has on the lives of millions of Children in Africa.

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IMG_3284My first visit to Africa, I witnessed a young boys life being saved. He had an infection in his carotid artery. If he hadn’t had the operation, by the US medical team visiting the area, he would have died.

Every day in Africa thousands of kids die needlessly. They die because of poverty. Picture this, a young child comes down with an infection. The illness is something that can be taken care of, almost immediately, in any first world country. But, what if there were no medical facility to take your child to. Alternatively, you did not have the means to help them. It is a reality parents face daily in Africa. Yes, moms cannot give their kids the medical attention they need because they don’t have access to medical care, or they don’t have enough money to pay for the medical care they need.

If you did not know, there are different levels of poverty. There’s relative poverty—it essentially means people who have less money than those who live around them. It is a term used in a broad sense –child poverty, world poverty etc. You see it, read about it and, possibly for some, have lived through it.

Then there’s Absolute poverty. Absolute poverty is often the faces we do not see. We may hear about them, but often can’t wrap our head around just what it is they are living through. Absolute poverty is not being able to make enough money to pay for what we call the basics, food, clean water, clothing and shelter. Just less than half of the people who live in sub-Saharan Africa live in Absolute poverty. They make a little more than a dollar a day, and can’t provide for their family.

The reality of Absolute poverty is that children live in homes that use dirty streams for drinking water. They live in shacks with no electricity; they have no indoor plumbing, no comfortable beds to sleep on, and often go hungry because there is not enough food to go around.IMG_5100

Here’s another reality of Absolute poverty—children die needlessly every day. They die because there is no primary health care. They die because the “essentials” are, in fact, a necessity to survive.

Jamie Paige

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