Today is October 15, Blog Action Day against Poverty.
My husband grew up in Peru in a middle class family of artists and teachers. We were fortunate enough to have lived there for a while and to have visited there a number of times. The day-to-day existence of too many of Peru's citizens includes grinding poverty. The children leave the strongest impression on me. What must it be like to live in a house made of materials scrounged from the streets? Not to know if there will be enough food for the day? Not to know if the future holds anything better?
Peru is a beautiful country with a rich cultural history. The extremes between the haves and have-nots is striking and so much more obvious than it is here in the states. There it is not uncommon to see families living in houses made of cardboard, tin and homemade adobe right next to exclusive gated communities, patrolled by watchmen, with fancy, imported cars in every driveway. 53% of the population lives below the poverty line, 10% earn less than $1 a day. Many people have migrated to the cities hoping for jobs and this has exacerbated the problem.
Oxfam International is one organization that is making a difference, in Peru and in many countries around the world. They are working to improve health care and education, encourage free trade, and develop sustainable agriculture in over 100 countries. Poverty is a global problem and it needs a global solution. We all need to help, from the local level on up. There are many organizations in each of our communities that need our support. There are many people working on this problem and they need our help. I'll be working harder to do my part.