Helping to Alleviate Poverty

Talk to globally conscious adults and you’ll quickly learn that for many, their desire to be socially active was rooted in childhood. Experience with making a difference on a small scale often led to the desire to have an impact in a bigger way.

So how can you encourage the children in your life to start putting their care and concern for others into action now? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Nothing creates understanding on how different – or similar – life on planet Earth can be than getting to know someone in a far-off distant land. A family or a class can sign up to “sponsor” a child in the developing world through organizations such as Plan, Save the Children, Compassion or World Vision, or to become a Unicef Global Parent. Consider having a piggy bank on the family dinner table – or on the teacher’s desk – into which children can deposit coins to help pay for the sponsorship. Corresponding with a child in another country is a great way to make a new friend – and a compassion connection – across cultural and geographic boundaries.

2. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban centers where poverty is a growing problem. Even North American cities know the challenges of overcrowding, slums and hopelessness that come with urban poverty. Take a field trip to a local food bank. Invite children to bring along nutritious canned goods as their price of “admission.” Put together a food hamper for a local family in need.

3. Hold a toy/book drive. Children can donate new or gently used toys, games and books they’ve outgrown to local shelters for women and children.

4. During the holiday season, many relief and development agencies publish gift catalogs packed with ideas of items that can be purchased and delivered to needy families in the developing world. Tell the kids in your life you’d love it if they’d give you a mosquito net this year rather than a mug – or chip in together to purchase a pair of chickens instead of a candle.

5. During computer time, allow children to play the Free Rice game. With each correct answer, they’ll expand their vocabulary and donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme to help reduce world hunger.

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