If handed a dollar, 45% of children in developing countries would choose to spend it on food or water, a global survey of 10-12 year olds has found. When asked what they need most, one-third of children (34%) said education and another third (33%) said food. One-third of the children polled said they go to bed hungry at least once a week. The Small Voices/Big Dreams poll, commissioned by the ChildFund Alliance, shows that even the hungriest kids know that education is key to a better life: over half of the children said they would make education their top priority if they were president.
A parallel survey of children living in poverty in the U.S. found very similar results in many of the questions: 55% of American kids would spend that extra dollar on food, and 29% said that food was what they needed most. Likewise, 31% put improving education at the top of their presidential priority list. (Some 50 million Americans were food insecure last year.)
When asked what they fear most, children around the world picked animals (spiders, snakes) the most. But in a sad reflection of their reality, 18% of African kids, but only 1% of Americans, picked war/terrorism/violence as their most feared thing.
November 20 is designated by the United Nations as Universal Children’s Day. On this date the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1959, as was the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Millennium Development Goals, outlined by world leaders in 2000, largely focus on helping children, including halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, halving extreme poverty, and providing universal primary education by 2015. It’s a tall order; maybe we should make more hungry kids president.
Photo: She would make education her priority if she were president.
Courtesy ChildFund Alliance