What does it mean to be a child in a third world country?

“All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction” (Dalai Lama XIV). Most children in today's society grow up wanting and begging their parents for more wasteful possessions, constantly thinking that it will drastically improve their lives. Children all over the world, including here in America and third world countries, struggle with the dreadful and emotional roller coaster of managing their growing bodies with difficulties of daily life. Most children face many struggles because of their geographical location and their economic state. What the average American child doesn't realize is that the struggles of their lives are radically more lush than that of the deprived children in third world countries.

Geographical Disadvantages

The children within third world countries face a significant disadvantage due to their geographical location. According to the United Nations Millennium Project, “nine of the twelve countries with the lowest human development are landlocked”. Landlocked countries experience a harder time advancing in their development because they don't have access to trading ports. Trading ports help the advancement of countries since there are easy access to goods for children not found in that country, such as medications, nutritious food, and educational resources. Trading ports also implement the spread of technology from country to country. Within developing countries that are landlocked, children have to face the idea that their life expectancy will decreases by 3.5 years compared to the surrounding countries.

Most third world countries have significant environmental issues due to their geographical location. In these locations they experience severe weather incidents, such as floods and droughts. These events lead to the increase of disease, poor farming soil, poor water supply, and destruction of property and resources. According to the World Health Organization, climate change is “estimated to cause over 150,000 deaths annually”. These climate changes lead to the destruction of food resources inevitably causing the malnutrition of children affected. According to UNICEF, 3 million children die annually due to poor nutrition. It is hard to wrap one's mind around the idea that children in developing countries have been stripped of what truly is their identity and it is replaced with the devastating reality of the home.

Economic Poverty

Children in third world countries have no idea what it is like to own a toothbrush, let alone how to use it. According to a recent survey done by UNICEF, 21,000 children die everyday due to poverty. This is equivalent to one child dying every four seconds. Since the average person breaths every 5 seconds, every time you take a breath, another child around the world breathes their last. Poverty is taking over the lives of children in these countries with no possible way of escaping they are trapped in a repeating cycle of poverty. The average household in developing countries acquires $1255. This statistic does not begin to account for the monetary gap between the overpowering rich and the helplessly poor. This is drastically lower than the earnings of an American household, $37610. Children everyday face the devastating realities of what it is like to live in a poverty filled country. On the bright side there are many things that can be done to help change and better the identity of these innocent children. Organizations such as Compassion International, allows people to support a child by paying $38 a month to cover the cost of education, healthcare, and food. I personally have helped support a child in poverty and it has drastically changed what she defines as her identity. Everyday children suffer from lack of food, medicine, water, education, clothes, and shelter all due to one thing… poverty.

In Conclusion

Children all over the world struggle with finding their true identity. What most children don't realize is that finding their identity is an easier process than those living in third world countries. Although the geographical location and the economic condition of the children in these countries is hindering them finding their true identity it is is also the very thing that shapes who they are as a person. They are an inspiration for us to aspire to be stronger and more generous people.

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