After Asia, Africa is the continent where most children are born each year, and because of its strong cultural diversity, South Africa is commonly called ‘’a world within a country’’.
Over 400 million children are currently living on the African continent and the number is rising. The UN estimates that Africa’s population will double to 2.4 billion by 2050, which makes the quarter of the world’s population. According to the prognosis 40% of all children under the age of five would live in Africa in the middle of the 21st century.
”To every child- I dream of a world where you can laugh, dance, sing, learn, live in peace and be happy.” Malala Yousafzai
The proportion of the children under 15 years old was 41% in 2010 across the continent. Countries like Uganda, Angola, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger count as countries where half of all inhabitants are under 15 years old. The situation of African kids in sub-Saharan Africa is particularly critical: 33% of the world’s 48 least developed countries are located in this region.
The World Bank estimates that between 45%-50% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live below the poverty line, meaning that they have to live on less than $1.25 a day. This makes the sub-Saharan region the poorest region in the world.
Although the millennium goal was to reduce child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, one child in the world still dies every five seconds.
The child mortality rate is especially high in the states like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, with Sierra Leone being the country with the highest infant mortatlity rate ever: out of 1,000 live births, 185 children do not make it to their fifth birthday. The most common causes of the early death of the children in Africa include pneumonia (an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs, caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi), diarrhea (loose, watery stools) and malaria (a disease caused by a parasite), or complications during the pregnancy and childbirth.
”History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” Nelson Mandela
Because of the constant natural disasters-especially droughts and floods, the majority of Africans lack of clean water or food. In 2017, 23 countries experienced food crisis due to climate and weather conditions. Two thirds of these countries were in Africa, affecting approximately 32 million people. Many of these challenges are man-made. Deforestation, for example, is caused by humans seeking new places to live, farm or obtain firewood. Drought, water shortage and desertification in Africa all reduce agricultural productivity and food availability.
The second goal of the UN Millennium Development Goals is for everyone to have the primary education. However, the great amount of children in Africa are excluded from school and contribute to the livelihood of their family instead. More than 90% of South African children benefit from the right to education, however researches show that a total amount of 30 million children in the sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school, and 54% of them are girls. Instead, they work on plantations, mines, quarries or factories. Most of the children are exploited and have no chance of attending schools because they have the time nor the strength to learn.
Nevertheless, the children who manage to experience to attend school start at a very early age. In Nigeria, the parents send their children to schools at the age of 1, when they start to learn about alphabet and numbers. In Nigeria 90% of 2-year-old children can wash themselves, 75% can buy things and 39% can wash their own dishes. The main principle there is not to waste a lot of time on child rearing and to be a good role model. At a very early age the children learn how to survive on their own in their surrounding, they have major responsibilities at a very early age and also take them seriously.
”We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” Stacia Tauscher
In order to change something in the world, it’s never enough only to talk about it or spread the news, it is very necessary to take some action and seek for improvement strategies. Although nowadays we can find plenty of organizations that are fighting the poverty and tough living conditions in Africa by collecting donations and help for children in Africa, most of them are very untrustworthy and it seems very difficult to find the safe way to directly help and to be reassured that the donations are really reaching the final destination.
Nevertheless, a lot of people are financially not able to help those children, which doesn’t mean that there is nothing else that they can do. What we can always do-and for free, is to learn from everything and everyone around us. These children and their life story can teach all of us so much.
There will always be something that we don’t have, especially now when more than ever before it’s easier to get distracted by everything that we don’t have and forget about everything that we do. The great part of our society is being focused on what only has a materialistic value and forgets about everything that has a life value. Things as health, peace, love, happiness, safe surrounding, home and family can never be replaced or bought, but they can very easily be lost and hard to find again.
No matter how much you do or do not have, there will always be someone who has less than you.