Archive for poverty

Geoffrey Canada has 650 Kids in College

Posted in Awareness, North America with tags , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

While many dead-beat dads are stifling kids through their actions, one man is boosting kids one block at a time. In the 1990’s, Geoffrey Canada initiated an experiment to promote a future for children living in poverty. Canada’s experiment yielded a safe zone for the children in Harlem to learn and play. Canada’s experiment has come to be known as Harlem’s Children’s Zone.

Geoffrey Canada was featured by ABC News as Person of the Week. A newly released documentary suggests he’s Superman. Canada says, “One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me Superman did not exist. She thought I was crying because it’s like Santa Clause in not real. I was crying because no one was coming with enough power to save us.”

Canada was raised by a single mother in Harlem. He went on to earn a Masters from Harvard. When he and his wife were expecting their first child he started to research what child development. He discovered that positive parenting starts before your child is born. Canada reached out to expecting mothers to teach them how to raise their child from a positive view of the world.

Canada had learned that children of wealthy parents are given early positive encouragement; while poor parents extend negativity to their children. Canada has pioneered a program that follows babies growing up in poverty with positive encouragement throughout their development.

Canada said, “It is one of the great joys of my life, that when I look at my young people that I realize there is a bunch of us adults standing with these kids saying we’re going to guarantee you make it.”

Life in the Slums of Kibera

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on September 19, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Imagine your baby falling to the floor onto a sheet of reused plastic as he enters the world. Imagine no one is there to catch him.  No doctors, or midwives, to assure his safe arrival, only well meaning neighbors. This is how babies born poor come into the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Families in slums often consist of mothers with no husbands; no jobs; no money. Children of these slums exists with no food; no education; no future. Husbands wonder in and out. They have lost hope of being a providing husband and father. They are the product of growing up in slums without learning productive skills. They are the sons of fathers who like them had nothing to pass on. They are the husbands of women who out of necessity have had to be the backbone of the family.

Hopelessness is the biggest threat in slums. Without hope what is there? There is the lack of opportunity and the promise of death. Without hope, people are vulnerable to crime, imprisonment, and the spread of disease.

Children Who Migrate to Work

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, NEWS, Our Health with tags , , , on June 11, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Berikisu, an 8 year old in Accra, the capital of Ghana, trades her education and health for money. She balances metal pans of food on her head to carry to customers all day. The weight of the food as caused her persistent pain in her neck and back. At times she falls to the ground. She told IRIN reporters,

“I have a headache and I want my mother to buy me some medicine. I always have pains, in my chest. I have never been to the hospital.”

Berikisu came to Accra to work as thousands of other Ghana’s children do. The U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report estimates over 30,000 children work as porters. Even more children are sex workers.

Sheema Sen Gupta of UNICEF said,

“These kids are supposed to be in school. Their health is compromised. We also know that these kids have babies on the streets, which is a maternal health issue.”

In Ghana children’s rights are addressed in dozens of policies, although legislation is not often enforced. Agencies are trying to prevent children from needing to migrate to find work just to eat. Schools are opening so children can eat where they learn.