Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Six Privileges of A Six-Year Old American Boy

Act #92:  Save the children. Save the world.

My son is turning 6 in a few months, and in the midst of our early discussions about his birthday party theme (a close tie between a super-hero exgtravaganza and an outdoor water party), I can't help but to feel incredibly grateful - maybe a tad guilty - for all that we are able to provide for him.  There are so many things that we take for granted, including basic needs like food and access to healthcare.  My only tiny consolation is our committment to nurture values like compassion, humility, and a sense of justice in him.  In the meantime, here's how my boy fares to the rest of the world.

1.  He gets to help plan his birthday party, not his wedding.
More than 100 million girls under the age of 18 (and often times much younger) in the developing world will be forced into marriage over the next 10 years.

2.  These days, he's learning to count backwards, skip count, and subtract.
In Africa, 60% of children who do not attend school are girls. Many women in Africa’s rural villages have little if any schooling, and face limited political and economic prospects. 

3.  His most difficult chores are to clean up after himself.
In India, an estimated 13 million children between the ages of 5-14 years are forced into child labor.  Many children are engaged in "hazardous labor" and are forced into work due to parental poverty and illiteracy, lack of access to basic and meaningful quality education and skills; high rates of adult unemployment and under-employment, and cultural values of the family and society.

4.  His reproductive organs belong to him.
About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, a procedure that can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
5.  He has daily access to his own snack tray in the pantry and his own food drawer in the fridge.
An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight as the result of acute or chronic hunger.

6.  He knows his pediatrician by name and as the guy who dispenses Scooby-Doo reward stickers after every visit.
More than 200 million children worldwide under age 5 do not get basic health care, leading to nearly 10 million deaths annually from treatable ailments like diarrhea and pneumonia.

Learn how you can help, by visiting www.savethechildren.org, www.unicef.org, or local charitable non-profit organizations in your area.

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