In a study commissioned by UNICEF and conducted by the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics, child poverty was identified and measured by focusing on children’s access to a basket of basic services. The programs, campaigns and initiatives of the InnerCity Mission for Children are designed to give the indigent child access to these basic services.
Over 140 million children in developing countries – 13 per cent of those aged 7 to 18 years – have never attended school. Of those children who attend, most do not have access to good education. Schools may not exist in their community, or are dilapidated, with no infrastructure and no learning materials. Teachers are either not there or, if they are there, they are de-motivated and not properly trained. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000, but it didn’t happen
According to the study, over 500 million children – one in every three children in the developing world – have no access to sanitation facilities. There is poor sanitation in the inner cities in the developing countries; this and unclean water are invariably a cause of disease and poor health among these children.
One in five [400 million] children in the developing world do not have access to safe water and a large number do not have access to water at all. Where they do have access to water, it is unclean, or they have to walk long distances to fetch it. Close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficit
The World Bank states that over 1.3 billion people live on less than $1 a day and children account for about 50% of this number [over 650 million], thus resulting in these children growing up malnourished, underweight and stunted. The families and households in the inner cities fit in this category; they either do not have a steady source of income or have incomes that are below the poverty line. Hence they cannot provide adequately for their children, causing the children to go hungry and destitute. Where food is available, it is unbalanced.
2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized and 15 million are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. 270 million children have no access to health services. Good hospitals are almost non-existent in the inner cities and good healthcare is very expensive. Where they have clinics or health centers, there are either too few trained medical professionals or none at all. In most inner cities, there is insufficient health infrastructure, poor quality care and little or no access to drugs. Children in inner cities usually do not get immunized. Every year, there are 350 – 500 million cases of malaria, with one million fatalities. Africa accounts for 900,000 [90 percent of] malaria deaths and African children account for 280 – 400 million [over 80 percent of] malaria victims worldwide
640 million [1 in 3] children in the developing world are without adequate shelter. The children in inner cities live in homes and environments that are unfit for human habitation. They also live there on terms and conditions that are exploitative and are a breeding ground for all forms of abuse against children.
Every child has a right to survival, food, nutrition, healthcare, shelter, an education, participation, equality and protection, as agreed to in the 1989 international human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These rights are not limited to children of well-to-do parents, but also apply to children in the inner cities. Children also have a right to safety, to play and to be free from all forms of abuse and exploitation. As a result of the economic and unhealthy social environment in inner cities children’s rights to all of the above are often violated.