Developing Nations’ Urban Poor
In developing nations, most of the larger cities endure an endless migration of people moving in from rural areas due to a lack of employment in their home regions. In many rural provinces, unemployment figures reach over fifty percent. While unemployment is less in cities than in the rural areas, alas it brings other problems, like affordable housing and skills for employment in better paying jobs..
Without a source of income, adults and children are highly vulnerable to being exploited by merciless individuals who will victimize others without remorse for their own personal gain or simply to exist.
Generally those who are urbanizing to find work come with only the barest essentials, often only the clothes they wear. The result is unprecedented overcrowding and poverty, creating a variety of slum areas scattered throughout the cities.
Travel through almost any major city in a developing nation, and you will find slum neighborhoods under bridges, on railroad easements, in garbage dumps, in cemeteries and in those officially designated “squatter” areas. The poor are most vulnerable to disease and various health issues due to poor diet, inadequate sanitation and a lack of health services.
While seeing individuals in such appalling circumstances is depressing, the situation turns to heart-breaking when you see entire families caught in such poverty. It is not uncommon to see homeless children prostituting themselves to live. Because no government assistance exists to bring financial relief or to teach skills for facilitating change, the people are powerless to alter their situation without help. In essence, they are destined for a life of poverty, malnutrition and premature death unless intervention and assistance comes from the private sector. As Servants of the Kingdom we see opportunities to reach out to those living in slum areas.
Children are of supreme delight and preeminence in God’s Kingdom. Jesus used them as an example for adults to help them understand their own mind set for entrance into the Kingdom. As Servants of the Kingdom we see opportunities to make a lasting difference with children who are open and teachable. Some of those opportunities include orphanages, home placement (many good parents would take in a child or two if they could be reimbursed for the cost), schooling (where there is none), and the development of cottage industries, (for older children and their parents) are just a few of the things we can do to make a lasting difference in these humble people’s lives.