Income distribution in South Africa is amongst the most unequal in the world; the gap between rich and poor is vast. It is estimated, according to the United Nation’s children’s agency that around 60% of South Africa’s population is living in poverty. The average monthly household income is a meager $63.
It has also been estimated that around 50,000 children die per year from malnutrition or diseases that could have been prevented had it been for adequate medical care available to them.
Income inequality is on the rise and this severely affects children’s survival, development and life trajectories. This becomes a cycle and will likely persist to the next generation.
UNICEF has reported that 1.4 million children live without clean drinking water, and often rely on dirty streams for drinking water as a result from living in squatter camps or informal settlements, where shacks are constructed using tin, wood and cardboard. That extent of poverty also results in children having no access to proper bedding, cooking or ablution facilities.
Poverty remains one of South Africa’s greatest challenges. The lack of resources provided to children living in poverty is extensive and has serious repercussions. Children are unable to grow strong, get an education, to live in a safe environment and be able to fulfill their full potential. The extent of health deprivation, education, housing, employment will have a serious detrimental effect on the next generation.
Without the proper resources available, poverty becomes a continual cycle which is very difficult to break. Unless this cycle is broken, generation after generation will continue to struggle without much hope.
The Importance of Children’s Charities
The only way to break this continual cycle of poverty is through providing proper nutrition, education and stability. The grants provided by the government are not enough, and many children live in households that have no access to social security.
One way individuals can, however, make a difference is through supporting a local children’s charity. It is estimated that around 1.2 million South Africans volunteer at various charities per year. Although this might sounds like a large amount of people, considering the population of South Africa is around 50 million, South Africans are not even close to making a significant change in the future generation.
South Africa’s biggest asset is its people, the rainbow nation, and every South African should be socially responsible and assist those who are less fortunate.