Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do these numbers lead you and me to action?

For the world’s poorest people, misery and death are the norm – and the numbers are staggering.  
Imagine, Stearns asks, that a jetliner full of American travelers crashes, killing all aboard – not once, 
but three times in the space of a month.  There would be an outcry, investigations, a mobilization of 
tremendous resources to prevent further tragedy.  Yet, the equivalent of 100 planeloads of children 
crash every day, killing all – that’s 26,500 children, first suffering, and then dying, each and every 
day of the year – from entirely preventable causes due to their extreme poverty.   
Over 1 billion people (about 15% of the world’s population) live in extreme poverty.  In monetary 
terms, they live on less than $1 per day.... for reference, the average American income is $105 per 
day.  Try to imagine living on less than 1% of your current income, day after day, month after month, 
year after year!  The harsh reality for these people includes: 
o 9,000,000 die each year from hunger related causes; a child dies every 5 seconds 
o 5,000,000 die each year from water related illness; a child dies every 15 seconds 
o millions more die from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; millions of children are orphaned each year 
o millions of children grow up mentally impaired, handicapped due to malnutrition and unsafe water 
o 200 million man-hours of work are spent every day in the Third World just hauling water  
o despair gnaws at the hearts of helpless parents as they watch their children suffer and die
Hunger, thirst, and disease combine to make work, education, and community improvements all but 
impossible.  For many living in this grinding poverty, desperation and hopelessness rule.  Even with 
hard work, determination, and ability, they know they have no real choices, no way out of the trap....  
--summary thoughts by Wayne Snider from Richard Stearns book, "The Hole in Our Gospel"

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