Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is Poverty.

With talk of a global recession, the rand reaching record lows and the interest rate sitting at a level that has made our bond repayments go through the roof, poverty is feeling rather close to home at the moment. And penny pinching doesn’t come easily to me, I have to confess.

So I’ve been feeling rather sorry for myself of late because, facts are facts, and we are having to cut back a little. This means we have to think twice before eating out (one of my favourite past-times) and I’ve had to determinedly walk past the clothing department of my favourite store as I know that a “quick browse” is always going to turn into “a bit of a splurge”. It sucks people!

But driving through the rural area close to where I live all of this is put very clearly into perspective for me. The people living in that area are living in poverty. The kind of poverty that means they don't have a proper roof over their heads, the kind of poverty that means their kids don't have decent clothes, the kind of poverty that means hungry tummies at night.
The cutting back that I am dealing with is SO not poverty! We have warm cosy beds to sleep in, we have more than enough to eat, we have cell phones, computers, TVs and a DVD player, we have hobbies that cost money and we don’t think twice about spending money on our health and well being. In short, we are living in the land of milk and honey!
The people in that rural area are living in makeshift shacks, they do not have the very basic necessities. Talk about humbling!

According to the Department of Public Works, seventy per cent of black South African children under 16 are classified as living in a state of poverty and undernourishment. Many children have lost both parents (often as a result of the AIDS epidemic) with the oldest children left to care for themselves and their siblings. They are frequently forced to drop out of school, reducing their chances of getting decent employment, and further reducing the chances of the household being able to move out of poverty.

It’s a vicious circle. So what is the answer? Frankly, I have no idea. But I really do believe that if each one of us did something small in our own lives to make a difference in the lives of those who are facing grinding poverty we could have a positive effect, albeit a small one.

Nelson Mandela said “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

A couple of sites worth a visit: Greater Good SA and fellow blogger Mel’s Bosom Buddies


The Jackson Files said...

Great post, Gill. Makes me want to do something too.

Sweets said...

yes, great post! in afrikaans there is a saying 'ons kla met 'n witbrood onder die arm'... so true right?! i think if we all start with something small (all, meaning all the millions of people in south africa)... give away your old clothes, not sell it, give it... if you see someone in the supermarket counting out his cents to pay for his stuff, give him R50... if you have a domestic worker or a gardener, pay them a decent salary... if you have too much fruit and veg in the house, which is going to go off anyway... give it to someone... i don't think anybody has an idea what an impact small things can make in a country.


Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent post, it was all put into perspective for me when I lived in Malawi for a couple of years.

Jeanne said...

Excellent post Gill and I'm sorry I was on a blogging holiday for the last 2 weeks and missed this. Planning to do a post highlighting what people can do to make a difference though.

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