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I don't understand

(26 Posts)
Mey Tue 29-Jan-13 12:09:50

For years now we have all given donations to the starving in Africa and ever since I was little I was made very aware that there are children starving in Africa.

So the bit I don't understand is WHY are there STILL children starving in Africa after we have all given for so long.

When you see the TV adverts nothing has improved, they are all still starving.

It breaks my heart to see these poor innocent children in such pain.

I am going to be very daring here and say----If you lived in the UK or anywere in the civilised world you would only have as many children that you could afford and having more children than you could afford would be extremly irresponsible not to mention cruel.

So WHY do they continue to bring innocnet children into a world were they are certain to starve to death.

I will go one step furtherand ask WHY are they not given birth control!

I do not wish to cause any offence just airing my view and hope to get some of your views, just to see if I am the only person that feels this way.

Movedalot Tue 29-Jan-13 12:15:07

In the UK there are a great many people who have more children than they can afford!

janey Tue 29-Jan-13 12:15:28

If governments do not change and corruption is allowed to carry on then nothing will change. It doesnt matter how much money is thrown at the
country it will not change.

absent Tue 29-Jan-13 12:15:35

Mey Not everyone in Africa is starving. Drought and war play major roles in causing famine. "Giving them contraception" is not easy when you consider that many people live in very remote regions and that there is inaccessibility to regions where there is strife. Many women are denied education and therefore may be ignorant about contraception in the first place. When infant mortality is high, people tend to have lots of children so that some will reach adulthood and contribute towards maintaining the family.

j07 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:19:12

Never mind why! Just try to feed them. #nobodysfault hmm

Mey Tue 29-Jan-13 12:29:23

I dont agrre that it is nobodys fault, I do agree continue to feed them..

janeainsworth Tue 29-Jan-13 12:31:44

Corruption is a problem too - the aid doesn't reach the intended recipients.

j07 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:31:54

Perhaps warring factions. Can't do a lot about droughts.

j07 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:32:19

True janeainsworth.

Mey Tue 29-Jan-13 12:33:28

So what can we do IF anything

j07 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:35:37

Support Oxfam. And UNICEF. And Comic Relief. I can't think of any other ways.

gracesmum Tue 29-Jan-13 12:38:52

Good point absent. Famine may have natural causes and often does, but war and corruption and misappropriation of resources are also a part of it - as in Zimbabwe, for example. There is fault in the equation.It is of course not only children who are the victims of drought or famine - but their pictures tug at the heartstrings so, without being cynical, make for better publicity for aid appeals. The old thing about "giving a man a fish..." is very true as emergency famine relief programmes can only be just that - a short term response and should ideally be the first step towards a longer term strategy. The reputable aid agencies recognise that and do what they can, but it is an enormous, even infinite problem and their work is often hampered by the conditions on the ground.
You ask why do people bring children into the world? 1)they may have no alternative or say in the matter 2) children are the future where there is no other care in place for the elderly - your children paradoxically are your investment for the future when you are too old or weak to fend for yourself.
And sadly despite "all" the first world has given - it is not enough - money is not the answer. It needs education, infrastructure, skills, technology co-operation and good government in the countries concerned.

janeainsworth Tue 29-Jan-13 12:39:13

Mey support charities which can show what they are doing with the money you give.

Fondasharing Tue 29-Jan-13 13:32:47

I think it was ex President Bill Clinton that came up with what seemed a great idea but have never heard anymore about it.

If all the prosperous countries in the world, who wished to participate, started a "twinning" programme with each town/village in Africa that needs help (e.g. at present where I live, Henley on Thames is twinned with Falaise in France and Leichlingen in Germany - and what does that twinning really achieve?!) then that town could appoint a charitable body of volunteers who would visit their twinned town or village in Africa regularly, raise money each year and then when they return, use the money raised to help build schools, fund education programmes, water supplies etc.etc. This would ensure that the people who need help, get it directly from the people who raised the money, everyone can see and be part of the help and relationships can be formed that will benefit everyone.

This would take a "hell of a lot" of organising but I do believe in miracles and this idea sounded really worthwhile.

annodomini Tue 29-Jan-13 14:18:24

There are some schools that are twinned with African schools. The school where I was a governor had a relationship with a Masai school deep in the Kenyan bush, helping out with educational materials and keeping in touch by email.

Nelliemoser Tue 29-Jan-13 14:46:30

I can agree with very few of the points you have made as reason for the continents countinued poverty.

Africa is a country with bad Geography and bad history.

Many areas are near desert. That is due to the latitude. This bit of continent is at at present sitting around the equator on a large land mass that is not affected by the seas which influence climate. This has a major effect on the climare and rainfall patterns which can be very chaotic.
Poor rainfall means poor soil and this leads to poor vegetation and further degradation of the soil, so crops do not grow and people starve.

Then there has had been massive exploitation of this continent and the poeple by us Northern European colonial powers. We generally grabbed the best bits of the continent that were good for farming and turfed out the indiginous people into the less productive areas.
We then severely oppressed these native peoples, and plundered their land for gold and precious minerals and took many of their riches for ourseleves.
This might just explain some of the continuing poverty.

Not surprisingly this history has set up a great deal of antagonism towards the developed nations who do not have these serious geographical problem to contend with.

In "British in East Africa" The British brought educated Indians over from the Indian subcontinent to run the countries and further undermined and subjugated the native Africans.
Then there was the appaling South African apartheid regime.

Given all of the above there are many failed states and corrupt officials. Are these officials behaving so very differently from the oppressive manner in which previous generations were treated by us colonists?

As for having lots of children when you do not have any state pension and no welfare state you will rely on your children to feed and care for you in old age.

if you live in particulary harsh areas of the country where health care is unavailable and child mortality is high you take an insurance policy and continuing having children.
I do not think the powerless poor deserve the blame. Just look at the geography and the history. When the rains fail be thankful you don't live there and be generous.

gracesmum Tue 29-Jan-13 14:55:25

Your last lines really say it all - be thankful you don't live there. But for the "accident" of our birth, we could be those wrinkled, starving women walking miles for a pail of dirty water, scratching the soil to try to make a living or watching our babies and grandchildren die. Lat year I had DGS1 with us and was spooning the weetabx into (or around) his mouth when I heard a report of the famine in (I think) Somalia and eye-witness accounts of mothers trying to suckle their starving babies from flat and empty breasts and children dying before their eyes. DGS must have wondered what was wrong with Granny as I just hugged his lovely firm and chubby little self as I sobbed.

Ariadne Tue 29-Jan-13 14:57:10

We can't change the environment, the political situations or the cultures in places like Africa, or at least, not head on. But we, who have so much, can keep giving and hoping to feed and educate and, bit by tiny bit, improve lives. While ever six million children die each year from starvation, we cannot give up.

Of course fewer mouths to feed would help, but we cannot impose birth control on people whose views are so different from ours, and who have so much to cope with.

I agree wholeheartedly with NellieMoser in this!

Bags Tue 29-Jan-13 15:03:16

This sort of organisation which helps people to build businesses is one way to help by giving people a business-like leg up when they need it. Then they can help themselves. Most of the loans made through this organisation go through Traidcraft.

JessM Tue 29-Jan-13 15:22:43

Great post nellie
I would add that under the Bush administration and under the continued worldwide influence of the Vatican, many women who would like to restrict their family size have not been offered any access to contraception.
And AIDS has cut a swathe, killing huge numbers of economically active adults and leaving large families of children in the care of their grandmothers. Not unrelated to my first point as during the Bush years condom use was frowned on by those who allocated US aid money.

Mey Tue 29-Jan-13 17:26:18

Hi Nellie thank you for your very interesting post.

I can not really dis gree with any of it apart from this line you wrote

"As for having lots of children when you do not have any state pension and no welfare state you will rely on your children to feed and care for you in old age"

What old age, they are dieing of starvation and hardly ever make it to Adulthood, or at least this is the impression we are given from the TV adverts.

nanapug Tue 29-Jan-13 17:45:38

I think what really surprised me, and made me think, was when I saw an article stating that since many villages have had clean water put in because of our donations, there are so many more babies surviving, and as a consequence there are too many people to feed, and the teenagers are being sent away to townships to live in worse poverty......

annodomini Tue 29-Jan-13 18:31:18

Mey, it is wrong to believe that there are no old people in Africa. Granted they don't last as long as we do, but if they survive childhood, they do stand a chance of getting old. Aids has been a terrible scourge of mature adults which has meant that children and grandparents are left without the supporting generation in between. It is true that the advertisements from NGOs usually show pictures of starving children which, sadly, is a more emotive tactic than showing us photographs of emaciated grannies and grandads. But just sometimes you will see an advertisement for an organisation that caters for the forgotten elderly of the developing world. I can't remember what it's called but no doubt someone will.

Oldgreymare Tue 29-Jan-13 19:20:39

A bit late, but I've only just caught up:
Well said Nelliemoser

petra Tue 29-Jan-13 20:39:33

Mey. You ask " what can we do" my contribution is: educate the women.
I support a little girl in Zimbabwe through a charity called Plan.