Children In Crisis

When I was waiting to board, I listened to passengers of Cebu Pacific grumble (not just in one, but two airports on the same day) about the delayed flights and lousy service they were receiving from the airline’s staff, I watched frustratingly how their children were fiddling with their gadgets, whining about the food, and moping around because their parents did not buy the items they wanted. “These kids, these spoiled kids,” I thought. “I wanted to strangle them. Don’t they know how lucky they are?!? Did their parents bother to educate them about the existence of underprivileged children and their on-going plight of surviving every day challenges?”

While I struggled to get pass the war that is about to erupt in my head, I forced my thoughts to wander farther where thoughts deserve to wander. I wondered about the children and the youth survivors who have been residing in various evacuation camps in Tacloban City. Will they bear the tragic consequences of disastrous events like the super typhoon Yolanda – consequences like child labor, prostitution, hunger, deteriorating school systems, or succumbing to criminal life at a young age?

Brgy 88 youth

After Yolanda, many children were left orphaned. In some of the  interventions initiated by INGOs in Leyte and Samar, it was discovered that some of the beneficiaries belonged to ‘child-headed families,’ which meant that the eldest of the siblings has been forced to take on the role of breadwinner as they have lost their parents to the disaster. They gave up school to mend fishing nets for daily catch, carrying sacks of scrap to sell for a meager price, and cleaning houses that are not their own.

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In the busy streets of buzzing cities all over the country (around the globe even), you will find children without shirts or shoes on – begging, because they are hungry. Some still have parents, some ran away from home, and some were influenced to prowl the streets because they do not know any better. The sad truth – most of these children become victims of abuse and will soon resort to street gangs, alcohol and drugs, commercial sex, or petty crimes – eventually leading to high crimes – as desperation creeps in.

child in tisa

Our government ponders over our children’s literacy rate when most public schools in the country lack books, classrooms, and teachers. Might I dump the whole enchilada by mentioning other impacting components like poverty, educators migrating to other countries for greener pastures, conflicts, untrained administrators, corruption, natural disasters, and alike. We are talking about centuries of insecurity that previously colonized countries are clearly rich of.

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There are other sad circumstances too that children from other nations are also experiencing – forced marriages of girls in Afghanistan and Ethiopia, as well as child brides in India, teenagers recruited by militias in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghan children fear going to school because of probable Taliban insurgents, some young people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories take pride in joining groups involved in what they termed as resistance to Israel, while some youths in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are being preyed and trafficked for illegal employment.

Children are in danger everywhere, but most of us continue to turn a blind eye on what is happening. Wake up, our future needs saving.

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