CategoryPoverty & Wealth

State of the World’s Children

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Today is World Children’s Day. So how are kids faring across the globe? Here are some of the latest statistics from UNICEFs 2013 State of the World’s Children Report. Area,World,Sth Asia,Sub-Sah Africa,Australia Children dying before their 5th birthday,5.1%,6.2%,10.9%,0.5% Children under 5 who are underweight (malnourished),16%,33%,21%,- Children with HIV,3.4m,0.9m,3.1m,- Children...

Go On Swanny, Raise Taxes

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So, the days of hand-over-fist increases in government revenue are drawing to a close, just as the nation contemplates big social spending projects such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski education review. Inevitably there will be calls to delay the spending and cut programs. Just this week, after announcing a 10% rise in half yearly profits to $3.18 billion, the CEO of...

A Bunch of Greedy Bastards

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I like to think of Australians as a generous people, the sort of people who help out those in need. When bushfires hit we seem eager to give to those who have lost their homes. Every summer the Sydney cricket test turns pink on Jane McGrath day as money is raised for cancer nurses. When schoolkids accost us with boxes of fundraising chocolates we always buy some. And it shouldn’t surprise us that...

Foreign Aid. We Can Be Better Than Average

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When in Cambodia fifteen months back I visited a remote community where the organisation I work for, Baptist World Aid Australia, was funding a community development project. The project will make a huge difference in the lives of the villagers through things like improved crop yields and better nutritional practices. But there are limits to what that community can achieve through grassroots...

Australia is a “Developing Country” Too. On Development

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Australia currently ranks as the second most developed country in the world according to the United Nations Human Development Index. Cambodia, from where I write this, ranks 139th. With its high levels of poverty, underdeveloped infrastructure, and corrupt government, Cambodia is often described as a “developing” country. Australia by contrast is described as “developed”...

Myths About Poverty. Myth #3 – Teach a Man to Fish and He’ll Eat for a Lifetime

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When I first started to engage seriously with global poverty I was taken with this proverb: Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. I think it captivated me because it held out the promise of sustainable solutions to poverty. If only I could help poor communities develop their skills then they would be able to claw their way out of...

Myths About Poverty. Myth #2 – ‘The poor are always with you.’ Jesus said there’s not much we can do to end poverty

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Do you think it possible that we could see a world where extreme poverty is the rare exception and sufficiency for all the rule? Many people say no. They imagine the world today is much the same as the world of fifty years ago – a wealthy, industrialised group of countries with growing prosperity and a group of desperately poor countries stuck in poverty. Only the communist bloc has...

Myths About Poverty. Myth #1 – People are Poor Because They’re Lazy

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Over the years I have heard many myths about poverty spoken as if they were truth. One of of the most common is that people are poor because they’re lazy. A few years back the World Bank conducted a study of the experiences of people in developing countries who had escaped extreme poverty.It found two common factors – opportunity and initiative. The ‘poor are lazy’...

Five Things We Need to Know Before Supporting an Orphanage

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Australians love to support orphanages in poor countries, or one of the more recent adaptations of the idea, orphan villages. Orphanages push all our emotional buttons. On the one hand who can’t be moved by the plight of children who are alone and vulnerable? On the other hand institutional care is so tangible – we can see and touch the buildings, visit the children. For many...

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