Child survival is a phrase used often in the relief and development world. Technically speaking, it’s a measurement of how many children die before reaching age 5.
The good news is that child survival rates are going up.
In 1990, 90 out of 1,000 little ones around the world died for various reasons. By 2015, the rate was down to 43 per 1,000 births. We can and should celebrate that decrease in deaths. It represents a lot of hard work on the part of organizations like Food for the Hungry, as well as vulnerable families around the world.
Tweet This: The 52% reduction in child deaths around the world since 1990 is a good start. See what else needs to be done. https://goo.gl/AdhRCS
But the term has a deeper meaning to me that goes far beyond the technical definition. When I hear the words child survival, they conjure up three life-transforming memories.
Memory 1: Greater Love Than I Ever Imagined
One of those memories is of when my wife and I brought home our first child. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment at the time. We rolled our son’s bassinet into our bedroom, careful not to jostle him too much by moving his tiny bed too fast or bumping it into anything. I wanted to stay up all night to make sure he was breathing. It was overwhelming to think of God putting this innocent and vulnerable little boy into my care. I felt a level of love I never imagined was possible. I wanted to protect him, to provide for him, to nurture him.
That night, my prayers were transformed. “Oh, Lord, you can bring whatever harm to me, but I’m asking that no harm comes to my son.”
Memory 2: The Transformation is Universal
As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve talked to hundreds of parents. Through them, I’ve witnessed that parents everywhere carry a profound love for their children. Like my wife and me, parents across the world feel an unwavering need to protect, provide for and nurture their cherished children. They would rather die themselves than see their children harmed.
Tweet This: 12 children die every minute, but parents worldwide want to protect, provide for and nurture their kids. Read More>> https://goo.gl/AdhRCS
The bad news is that 12 children still die every minute!
That’s why Food for the Hungry employs numerous methods to help communities make basic household changes that help children survive and become healthy, productive adults. And we extend our reach through Care Groups, a method praised by institutions like the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania as a high-impact, low-cost solution to child malnutrition and illness. Research proves that educating parents on simple household changes they can make to keep their children healthy increases child survival rates.
I’ve learned over decades that when I ask people to make behavioral changes that will help their children become healthy adults, the answer is always, “Yes!”
People are willing to make the necessary changes “for the sake of the children.” And that willingness transforms communities, enabling and equipping people to pull themselves out of bone-crushing poverty.
Many of our programs that increase child survival depend on funding from the U.S. government, through USAID. Surveys have shown that Americans believe the portion of the federal budget that is used for foreign aid is around 26 percent. In reality, the portion of the budget used for foreign poverty reduction aid is less than 1 percent of the federal budget. And it’s an investment that does more than just help vulnerable people be healthy. It keeps communities stable, adding to our own security.
Memory 3: The Transformation Extends to Donors
Another way Food for the Hungry funds life-saving programs is through individuals like Russ and Patti Dupper. They sponsor 10 children in Chioya, Guatemala. They’ve also partnered with the Guatemalan communities of Chioya and Sequib to enable FH to do larger projects that aren’t funded by child sponsorship or USAID grants.
At a recent financial workshop, the Duppers learned about investing strategies that could earn them better rates of return. “We had made investment mistakes, and those mistakes took away our confidence,” Patti said. “As a result, we had more cash than we should have sitting in a low-interest savings account. With the investment strategies we learned at that seminar, we will earn a higher rate of return, which will give us more to invest in the work of Food for the Hungry.”
Patti said that she loves Food for the Hungry’s child-focused community transformation model, where FH measures the health of a community by the health of its children.
To put it in Patti’s words, “If we teach the children, enable them to get an education and healthcare, let them know that God loves them and they have value, and that they have hope because other people around the world love them and care about them, then they will grow up to make a difference in their own communities. It will break the cycle of poverty in those communities.”
That knowledge, along with partnering with those Guatemalan communities and getting to know her sponsored children has transformed Patti and impacted the way she and her husband invest their money.
What You Can Do:
Pray. God is committed to making humans loving people. Pray that people the world over will align each other to seek the survival of children.
Give. Donate to organizations like Food for the Hungry that work specifically for poverty reduction among children. CLICK HERE to give to our life-saving work.
Advocate. Call, write or email your members of Congress and ask them to protect the foreign aid budget. We’ve provided a form to help you do that.
Learn. Food for the Hungry regularly produces resources that help you better understand the causes of poverty and the most effective ways to help people end poverty in the lives of themselves and their communities. You can check them out here. We’ve highlighted one below that is full of fun family activities to help the children in your life develop a heart for helping the poor.
Want to Teach the Children in Your Life to Care About Children in Poverty?
We all want our children to develop generous and caring hearts, but how do you teach them about love and compassion in tangible ways?
Food for the Hungry has developed a free eBook to help you do just that!
With Seven Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Serving the Poor, a free eBook download from Food for the Hungry, you’ll discover:
Lessons that instill compassion from a biblical viewpoint.
Devotionals that help your child discover God’s heart for the poor.
Fun activities that show your children how they can put their compassion into action to make a difference for people in need.