Child Poverty: What Are You Going To Do About It?


        Rural migrants are attracted to the possibilities that a city can offer. Let’s take Bangkok as an example. The migration from rural to urban happens on a daily basis, whether its merely to work in Bangkok, traveling to and  from the distant towns, or to permanently settle down.

But to many, settling in the poorer districts of Bangkok and experience hardship and poverty is common. The fact is that Bangkok’s cost of living has escalated, similar to other major cities, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, within the South East Asia region.

There’s always a reaction to an action. Child poverty.

Despite the existence of  the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), children should have the first call on resources especially in times of an economical recession. With the regional political instability, financial crisis, and natural disaster, the prices of food and fuel has increased. This in turn affect families to cope and for children to thrive. Household income is failing, putting tremendous pressure on many parents to pull their children out of school and some are forced to help their parents in their livelihood. Some children wander about in the cities, as parents are focused on their work, neglected and vulnerable to a life lacking safety and nourishment.

The point is, governments need to throw their bureaucracy down the drain, and to be committed in a partnership with NGOs and concerned individuals. It’s not about removing children from the streets that would help them. It is about engineering society to adopt a more proactive behavior towards helping each other in the time of need. There is so much you can blame the government and civil society. This time, point your finger at yourself and blame yourself for doing nothing to improve the lives of children, whether local or refugee. Stop passing the buck. Educate yourself about the plights of streetkids, and pressure your MPs to take a more caring and sustainable measure in helping children.

Nowadays, corporations are more keep to maintain a good corporate image by extending donations via charity cum photo-shoot events. You’ll easily find these in the mainstream media, be it a multinational company or a local business. People don’t seem keen to adopt a more sustainable corporate social and community responsibility. Is it because of the absence of political will? Nonsense. Stop blaming the government, though the establishment must voluntarily take responsibility. Embracing humanity and compassion does not require the government to take the lead. Corporations should set the trend, especially since capitalism must be balanced with community-building principles. Or is everyone just keen on making money and not care for children that does not “belong” to them?

The CRC is a document which hopes to enable the environment in child protection and stimulate the well-being of a child. But the CRC is a failure because society does little to eradicate poverty. Don’t show me statistics. We still see and hear children wandering, begging and sleeping on the street or the back lanes of our cities.

If you don’t do something sustainable, one fine day, when you least expect, and when times are bad, whether you’re from the elite class or the average Joe, you will find yourself financially broke, and your children wandering the streets, ignored by society and the prejudice of civilization.



An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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