1000 days to achieve Millennium Development Goals
5/4/2013 – Globally, extreme poverty has been reduced by half. The annual death rate of children under-five and has been reduced by 4.4 million. Malaria related deaths are down by a quarter. The enrolment of girls has equalled that of boys in primary schools. SOS Children’s Villages has played its part in reaching Millennium Development Goals. However, the organisation has today warned that clock is ticking to meet a goal for children, who remain at risk.
A child conceived today will be due to celebrate its second birthday at the end of 2015; approximately 1,000 days from now. This coincides with the deadline set by the international community to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Social workers, medical experts, child psychologists and over six thousand professionally trained mothers across over 100 countries have united. They are concerned that time is running out to protect the most vulnerable children.
Tomorrow's child -Our goal is her lifequality © J. Lugtigheid
“Where there is a family at risk, there is a child at risk. Families need the means to adequately care for children. Before the birth of any child, much is needed to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation, neglect and abandonment”, said the CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International. Richard Pichler, was reiterating the sentiments of his team who currently provide a caring environment for 370,000 children across the globe.
“The life of a child conceived today will be determined by social and economic equality. Access to education and universal healthcare is fundamental. Within the next 1,000 days, 2.75 million children are likely to become motherless, mainly in countries where ante/post natal care is unavailable. The issues vary from country to country, however poorer communities have one thing in common.
Without support, an orphaned child cannot prosper. Surviving family members and carers often struggle to cope. Such children without parental care and families at risk can be strengthened. In deprived communities across over 120 countries, SOS Children’s Villages has proved this can be achieved,” said Mr Pichler
The changing face of the family - strong families help children prosper © J. Lugtigheid
Much has changed since the first SOS Children’s Village was established in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. For Garikai Pfebeni, a teacher, at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Waterfalls says the link between the development of the child and a strong family environment is clear. “The family is the primary socializing agent so it helps children to learn what is acceptable in the society and to fit in well, in any society. The family is basically the first teacher of the child. It inculcates moral values and norms that mould children into becoming functional and acceptable members of society.”
The child who reaches a second birthday in 1000 days from now, need not be at risk. Meeting development goals for children is something that involves everyone supporting families – now.