The Most Rev. Dr. Robert KwasiAboagye-Mensah, Immediate Past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana has entreated African leaders and professionals to take a second look at the serious repercussions child poverty and the widening inequality gap bring on the Socio-Economic Development of the African Continent.
Speaking at the annual African Humanitarian Fundraiser at the World Trade Centre, Accra, under the theme “The Effect of Child Poverty on the Socio-Economic Development of the African Continent”the Methodist Bishop said as a continent we have not taken a critical look at the increasing number of children involved in child labour and other activities that affect the dignity and the future of these children.He saidone of the critical challenges confronting the world today; particularly Africa is our children not being able to get enough quality education, healthcare and development. Half of the world’s children live in poverty and children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of five.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest incidence of child labour (59 million, over 21% of the children’s population engaged in various forms of hazardous work that cut short the future aspirations of these children. “Where do we go from here as a continent?” This is a question ARII wants us to reflect on. He said
There are alarming number of children on the African continent that are not attending school, due to several reasons. For example, there are some remote areas without schools. And even where they do exist, there are serious lack of adequate and proper school buildings, teaching materials, qualified and well equipped and properly motivated teachers to provide the quality education needed to positively transform their lives and the communities in which they live.
The challenging question is where will these children be when they grow up without the chance for education that prepares them for life? What kind of people would they become when they grow up without the chance to learn? They are likely to become social deviants who will work against the socio-economic development of the community, the nation and the continent.
He said “we are stressing the need to provide quality education and properly motivated environment for social transformation of our children because as Nelson Mandela quite rightly reminds us, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And all of us have the responsibility to commit ourselves by working with institutions such as the church and African Rights Initiative International that are engaged in social transformation for a better African continent. It is for this reason that I am pleased to promote the work of ARII”. He stressed
Education in developing countries is the leading global concern and forms a major part of ARII development programmes. ARII is working to provide educational opportunities and resources -to help discover, direct, motivate and develop the abilities of children living in the most disadvantaged communities; building schools, resourcing libraries, training teachers and offering scholarships.
In most of these cases the people are very poor and live in remote places far removed from the district capitals. In some instances the district education directorate doesn’t even know where these places are located. People in these communities live without fundamental facilities; and they need support for their children’s education.
The Rev. Minister, Humanitarian and Global Change Agent said “Child poverty’s consequences are wide-ranging and long-lasting. Children from low-income families are less likely to do well in school, and more likely to suffer ill-health and to face pressures in their lives that help to explain an association with anti-social behaviours and criminality”.
He stressed that the moral case for eradicating child poverty rests on the immense human cost of allowing children to grow up suffering physical and psychological deprivations and unable to participate fully in society. But child poverty is also costly to everyone in the world, not only in Africa and not just those who experience it directly. There are real costs to the whole of society of allowing child poverty to continue”
These consequences cost society: in the money that government spends in trying to counter the effects of child poverty, and in the economic costs of children failing to reach their potential.
He encouraged individuals, churches, institutions and corporations all across the globe to support the efforts of African Rights Initiative International and its international partners in building a better world for children. “Today we invite you to be in partnership with ARII through your organizations, and companies, or as individuals, to address some of the major sensitive socio-economic developmental issues affecting children’s education, health and total wellbeing in Africa and beyond. ARII is committed improving the quality of life of children, their families and communities; reaching out to support children whose lives are affected by extreme poverty, low level of education and inadequate healthcare. This is partly the reason for our meeting today.”
Let me encourage you to give towards the education and the well-being of a child in need today. You will never know the positive socio-political and religious effects that your contribution will make on the future of a child that you support today. Most of us are who and where we are now because someone made great financial sacrifice towards our education and training when we were children.
May the Lord God motivate you to generously support an organization like ARII which engages in programmes that are having positive effects on the lives of children in some of these disadvantaged communities..
The International humanitarian event, Total Emancipation 2014-United Against Child Poverty under the distinguished chairmanship of Mr. Alex Asiedu, Chairman-Atlantic Trust Holding Limited and Atlantic Holdings of Dubai had Professor Joshua Alarbi, Vice Chancellor for University for Professsional Studies and Board Chairman for SNIIT and Her Honour Mrs. Agyemang Budu, representing Her Ladyship Mrs. Georgina Wood, Chief Justice of the republic of Ghana, as the Guests of Honour.
Also in attendance were Mr. James Ntim Amponsah (Deputy Controller and Accountant General-(ICTM), Republic of Ghana, Mrs. MawuenaTrebarh, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotions Council, Professor Mrs. Alarbi, Professor John Amuasi, For Chairman of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Bryan Cox, CEO of The Spinal Clinic & Chiropractic Around, Ministers of State, other state officials, Celebrities, Representatives of the UN System, Board members, ARII Foreign Representatives, Media and many more.
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