I have yet to have any response back from the different international contacts that I emailed last week. I was hoping to at least hear back from one of them, but unfortunately no one has responded. I tried to listen to the podcasts but to my luck, I could not look or listen to the podcasts either. As an alternative I decided to research Jamaica and find out how the life of a child is affected by poverty.
Poverty is an issue that affects everyone in the family. The children are the ones who are affected the most. In reading and researching the UNICEF website and finding Jamaica, I found out some interesting information about Jamaica and poverty. I came across an article within the website entitled “Child Poverty and Disparities in Jamaica” and this article was very informative. The Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP) defines child poverty as “Children and young people growing up without access to different types of resources that are vital for their well‐being and for them to fulfill their potential” (as cited in Witter, Hamill, & Spencer, 2009, p. 39). The European Commission (EC) defined child poverty as ” the denial of child’s rights. It restrains a children from achieving their full potential, adversely affecting health, inhibiting personal development, education and general well-being” (as cited in Witter, Hamill, & Spencer, 2009, p.18). Educating early childhood professionals as well as the parents on poverty can help reduce the poverty level within any country state or town.
One insight that I have gained from reading about Jamaica and children and poverty is that children at early ages are exposed to so much violence, rape, child labor, no schooling, poor health, and many other situations. I have learned that even though they do not have much, they take what they have and make the best of it. With the help of volunteers and UNICEF there are programs and classes to help the parents learn how to take care of their child and take care of their basic needs. I believe that children should be children and be able to enjoy playing outside with friends, and not have to worry about having to work part time and unable to go to school because their parents are unable to work or has lost their job. It is never the child’s responsibility to have to work to make ends meet, although it is going on all over the world. Children are lacking knowledge and education because of having to work. Because of no more or the lack of money, many families are homeless and living in poverty, and being unable to provide for their home and children.
Another insight that I would like to share is that even in the midst of being in poverty, Jamaica still has assistance in helping families strive to do better and to live better. “Jamaica has implemented the cash transfer programme to support the income of poor households” (Witter, Hamill, & Spencer, 2009, p. 28). Money is provided for the families to help keep the children in school and also go towards their health and safety through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
One last insight would be the right of the children and education. In the article “Child Poverty and Disparities in Jamaica” UNICEF states, “Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. When we ensure that children have access to a rights-based, quality education that is rooted in gender equality, we create a ripple effect of opportunity that impacts generations to come” (Witter, Hamill, & Spencer, 2009, p. 36). Through the school children are offered food, health and hygiene practices, child immunizations, and eliminating child labour. They also have “The non-formal education system which works well to preserve a child’s right to education – this system assists those who have dropped out to re-enter the formal system or continue to other educational levels such as vocational and others” (Witter, Hamill, & Spencer, 2009, p.36).
Witter, M., Hamill, K., & Spencer, N. (2009, October 9). Child Poverty and Disparities in Jamaica. Retreived from http://www.unicef.org/jamaica/Child_Poverty_and_Disparities_in_jamaica.pdf