Childhood poverty is of enormous global concern with one out of every two children living in poverty. Many times when we hear these statistics, we picture the child as vulnerable, suffering, and facing the numerous effects of poverty alone. In this mental image, the child has been isolated from his or her context - it is easy to forget that the child we picture has siblings, parents who are trying to provide for him or her, extended family and community members who support their development. In reality it is not just the child experiencing poverty, but his or her family and community who are suffering too. Forgetting this context often leads us to attempt to address childhood poverty in isolation of broader societal poverty and its causes.
We can try to directly fund the individual child’s development, health and education. However this approach is problematic, because as long as a child’s family remains poor and their community marginalised, so will they. Therefore, addressing childhood poverty requires a much more holistic approach that combats the root causes of inequality for whole communities to break the poverty cycle.
For this reason, ACCIR moved away from direct child sponsorship in 2013 and initiated RAISE, our child-focused community development program. RAISE seeks to alleviate the effects of poverty on children by strengthening the capacity
and resilience of their whole community. Depending on local contexts, this may include securing clean water sources, promoting health and hygiene, or facilitating school attendance.
ACCIR is assisting hundreds of children and their communities through RAISE projects operating in Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda, Kazakstan, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam. To learn more, click here.