4 articles Tag poverty

How We Can Best Support Children Living in Poverty

Children remain to be one of the most vulnerable members of society today. Every day, millions of children around the world experience abuse, poverty, hunger, and injustice. There are ways you can help these children even if you are far away from them. For those looking for different ways of supporting a child who is living in poverty, below are some organisations that accept support.

Singapore Children’s Society

Established in 1952, Singapore Children’s Society is an organization that is committed to protect and nurture all children, regardless of race and religion. It values commitment, compassion and caring, professionalism, openness to change, and integrity.

Its mission is to bring relief and happiness to children in need, and its vision is to be a leading-edge organisation in promoting the well-being of the child. The organization recognizes that the needs of children are evolving, and to meet those needs, charity institutions must evolve as well. Children’s Society offers four kinds of services, namely, Children and Youth Services, Vulnerable Children, Research Advocacy, and Family Services.

In 2019, the group was able to help more than 66,000 children and families in need. Children’s Society has a total of 12 centres in Singapore. To support the Singapore Children’s Society, you can apply as a volunteer or donate. To get in touch with the group, you may send an email at info@childrensociety.org.sg or call 6273 2010.

Children’s Wishing Well

Children’s Wishing Well is a non-profit and charity organisation founded in 2002. It offers a wide range of services for children and youth belonging to impoverished families in Singapore. The organization supports educational and daily living requirements of its beneficiaries and trains them so they will be able to support themselves in the future. It’s also the aspiration of the organisation that its beneficiaries will become productive members of society someday.

Children’s Wishing Well’s signature programme is a holistic enrichment initiative that provides weekly classes by professional tutors in music, sports, speech and drama, life skills, IT, and other subjects. It even organises field trips to expose children to different experiences outside of the four walls of a school. It also has a programme called Career GPS that lets young individuals go to companies to make them aware of available career options. The organisation also reaches out to companies to ask them if they can provide mentorship and work arrangements for the youths under its care. Monthly grocery shopping is also organised to ensure that the nutritional needs of the children and youth are being met. Facilities such as reading corners, computer workstations, and robotics stations are also present in Children Wishing Well’s centres for the free use of children and youths.

There are many ways you can support Children’s Wishing Well. You can sponsor a child, give gifts to children, donate to areas of need, and contribute to disaster relief efforts of the organisation. To help, you can either work as a volunteer or sponsor a child by providing specific items or giving a monetary donation. You can send them an email at info@wishingwell.org.sg.

World Vision

Child poverty

World Vision is a well-known charity organization in Singapore and the whole world with a presence in more than 100 countries. It is dedicated to helping children, families, and communities to get out of poverty and deal with the root causes of injustice through the charity programs for child support in Singapore . Though it is a Christian group, it serves all people regardless of religion, gender, race, or ethnicity. It works following the federal model, acknowledging developed countries’ ability to support people from developing nations. The organisation also holds disaster relief operations following the International Code of Conduct for providing aid during emergencies.

World Vision’s operation in Singapore started in the 1970s after its efforts to help the boat people trying to flee Vietnam when Saigon fell to communist forces. In 1984, the World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Programme was transferred from its Hong Kong office to its centre in Singapore. The group is famous for its child sponsorship programme. For just $45 a month, anyone can sponsor a child and provide him/her with basic needs and education. Apart from sponsoring a child, you can also help the organisation by making a general donation and donating to areas of need.

To get in touch with World Vision Singapore, you may send them an email at enquiries@worldvision.org.sg.

Help Stop Companies from Robbing the Poor

Most of my readers know that I have strong socialist values and feel really strongly about equal rights for all people. Our current government has created a culture of keeping the rich rich and the poor poor, which has perpetuated food bank usage in the UK, huge levels of homelessness and the highest levels of child poverty in hundreds of years. What you might not know is that the huge tax-dodging companies which operate in the UK have a huge effect on poverty in other countries too. Companies dodge approximately £78 billion in tax in poor countries annually, stripping them of funds for vital services. Oxfam reveal that just a third of this amount would be enough to cover the healthcare that could prevent the needless deaths of eight million mothers, babies and children. Oxfam has created a powerful video to show what’s happening:

Showing it in such stark, literal terms of patients being directly deprived may seem provocative, especially when we see the part with the baby in an incubator, but the cold, hard facts are that this is exactly what happens when companies refuse to pay their taxes.

It makes me sick that even the lowest paid workers are expected to pay income tax and tax on almost everything they buy, but companies which turn over billions in profit get let off. I can’t even begin to get my head around how unfair that is and it’s time that we started demanding that the Government make changes.

Oxfam has started a petition and is asking people to follow this link and add your name to a list of people who wants to see changes happen NOW. It will take two minutes of your time and could make a difference, not only to us here in the UK, but also to people living in enforced poverty all over the world.

Do leave me a comment below if you have anything to say about the campaign or just to let me know you’re adding your name to the petition. I’m heading there to sign my name right now.

Has the Coalition Government Betrayed the Elderly?

Brought to you by Stannah Stairlifts

The care of our elderly citizens has been a popular news topic for some time now and the most recent reports are beginning to throw accusations at those responsible for allocating state-funded care to those most in need. Going under fire for betraying the elderly on earlier promises, the coalition government has come under great scrutiny lately – but are they really guilty?

Broken promises

According to a report on The Daily Telegraph, thousands of pensioners will be forced to sell their homes despite being promised that this wouldn’t happen. The scandal first gathered pace when it was announced that the government’s flagship scheme to stop old people having to sell their property while they’re paying for care at a residential home or in their own property would be means-tested.

The Government claims that this will improve prospects for the elderly so that they’re not facing unlimited care costs or being forced to part with their homes but other authorities have different opinions. They have claimed that thousands of pensioners could be put at risk but not qualifying for the scheme under the new means-test.

This would mean they would have to run down the value of their personal possessions and savings until it reached a figure lower than £23,250 at which point they would then qualify for the scheme.

Funding care

For those wondering what all the fuss is about, the crux of the issue lies with the cost of care. This has been rising for some time now, leaving older individuals struggling to cope with the bills. This led the Government to introduce a cap of £72,000 for the amount of money anyone should spend on their care over their lifetime with new rules on who can qualify for benefits and state-funded support.

The idea was that those who faced the idea of selling their homes to afford care would be able to talk to their local council and have their care bills settled via a long-term loan which was repaid from their estate so that they weren’t forced to relocate.

The means-test was introduced as a way to ensure that local councils were able to support this move financially but it is unlikely the battle will end here. With elections on the cards for parliament, social care is expected to be a big bargaining tool when different parties but their arguments forward. The coalition has already introduced a new model for elderly care payments with labour indicating that they are devising their own plans.

For those who rely on this care on a day to day basis, whether it be in the form of entering residential homes or adapting their own property with reconditioned stair lifts, this news is well worth monitoring. Checking eligibility for any additional financial aid or funding is vital if you need to pay out for regular care costs and the most important thing to remember is that the quality of service should not be sacrificed due to financial constraints.

Do Artists Need to be Poor to be Relevant?

Banksy

On our way to Liverpool on Friday, Husband and I were having a bit of a music sesh in the car, playing lots of CDs and going through some albums that we haven’t listened to in a while. We’re both massive fans of The Streets and one of the albums that got a play was Mike Skinner’s first, Original Pirate Material. I said to Husband that it would be on my all-time top ten albums list and he agreed, but we went on to discuss how Mike’s later projects didn’t have nearly as much of an impact as his first.

We decided it was because, when Mr. Skinner made his first album, he was young and ‘real’ – he didn’t have a lot of money, he was just an average lad making his way in the world and writing about his experiences. When you listen to his music is has a reality to it, a grittiness that makes it so unique. Our hypothesis about the subsequent albums is that as his success spiralled, he took a step away from the normality of his life and it made his writing less relevant to normal people and the audience with whom his previous work had resonated so deeply.

It reminded me of a conversation that I had with two of Husband’s cousins a couple of Christmasses ago. The conversation had got onto Banksy, the infamous yet anonymous street artist and political commentator who has taken the world by storm in the last few years. At the time, another ‘outing’ had happened where someone had claimed to the press that Banksy was not, in fact, a normal bloke from Bath who’d worked his way up in the street-art subculture, but was actually privately educated and from a wealthy background.

Both of Husband’s cousins were disgusted that he was potentially middle class and almost seemed to feel betrayed by his apparent class status. I asked them both at the time if artists needed to be poor to be subversive, especially given that a lot of Banksy’s art is so political, but they couldn’t quite come to a conclusion as to why it was unsuitable for someone of means to be commenting on politics in such an ‘urban’ way. And if Banksy was a rich boy, was his social commentary less authentic, because he lacked first-hand experience?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by NO means advocating the middle and upper classes, I’m a working class girl from a background of union members and hard-grafters, but I do find it interesting that there seems to be a correlation between how people view certain artists and the class that those artists would most identify with. I looked back through the ages too, and it’s not just a recent phenomena – Picasso is one of the most divisive artists in history, but I’ve heard many an anecdote about him having to burn some of his early canvasses just to stay warm, during times of abject poverty when he couldn’t afford wood for his fire. Van Gogh died without a penny to his namem having never found fame during his life, only to be one of the most celebrated impressionists of modern times.

It’s not just artists either – Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley all came from poverty and I can’t help but wonder if their individual impacts on the music world would have been so great had they been born middle or upper class? If they’d have had the edge and drive that they needed to become superstars? Sure, there are plenty of actors, artists, comedians and musician (especially in The UK) who were afforded the privilege of money and good education,  but I find it interesting how much more respect people are given when they appear to have ‘come from nothing’, and how the relevance of their music is increased by it.

So, how about you? Would you be disappointed to find out that Banksy was from a rich family? Would it make you think less of his art, or is the message the same regardless of what he came from? Does a person’s origins give them more of a right to comment on society, and does poverty make that opinion more authentic?

Let me know, I’m really interested in your opinion!