For most people in the US, the term “underprivileged children” often evokes an image of emaciated children from far-off continents. You may feel pity for them but you don’t really give them much thought. Poverty, after all, is an inevitable part of society and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Yes, poverty is inevitable and even the wealthiest countries have underprivileged children. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to ease their plight. Remember that even the smallest drop of water can cause ripples in the ocean.
But before we talk about what we can do for these children, let’s first delve deep into what being underprivileged really means.
What Makes Someone “Underprivileged”?
From the term itself, “underprivileged” children are those who do not enjoy the same advantages or rights as most kids their age. Most of the time, we equate it to being poor.
But being underprivileged is more than just coming from a low-income background. Underprivileged children also often don’t have access to quality education, shelter, healthy food, and medical care. This makes them vulnerable to malnutrition, diseases, and exploitation.
In essence, they are robbed of a normal and happy childhood – something that we can all agree every child deserves.
According to Unicef, there are about 1 billion children around the world that can be categorically called “underprivileged”. In the US alone, nearly 1 in 7 children live in poverty. A majority of them don’t even have access to enough food. While many others are living in shelters, cars, and public places.
While all of their troubles seem to be rooted in poverty, we cannot discount the fact that deep-seated social problems also play a role.
Most underprivileged children came from single-parent families. These parents also didn’t have proper education which leads to limited employment opportunities. They also tend to be more prone to domestic violence from their partners. This, in turn, can leave a huge trauma to their children. And thus, the cycle never ends.
Why Should We Care About Underprivileged Children?
We should care about these children because they are the future. These children will inherit this world. If we let them grow up like this, there’s only a very slim chance they’ll become productive members of society. On the contrary, they’ll most likely become delinquents and a nuisance to the community. Communities that your children and grandchildren will live in.
Remember that these children didn’t have a normal childhood. Poverty can have a complicated but profound effect on a child. As a result, they often struggle with various mental health issues as adults.
Most of them are not capable of developing healthy relationships or even coping with social norms. This makes them less able to hold a steady job and are likely to turn to a life of crime. It’s no wonder then that many of these children end up in the criminal justice system. If we don’t help them now, there’s a good chance that the generations after them will suffer the same too.
So if you want a better world for your children and grandchildren, you should definitely care about these unfortunate kids.
How Can We Help Them?
Growing up poor deprives a child of a lot of things. This is why if we want to help them, the most important things we can do are to:
As mentioned, underprivileged children often have no access to quality education. I mean, how can they prioritize school if they don’t even know where to get their next meal? Most of them also run away from home or are forced to work at a young age. It’s no wonder then that an estimated 2.1 million students drop out of high school in the US every year.
With no high school diploma, job opportunities will be limited. They usually end up working in low-paying jobs that won’t even pay for rent.
This is why education is the most important thing we can give these kids. If we help them go to school (and stay in school), they have a much better chance at a brighter future.
So how can we go about educating them?
There are a lot of non-profit organizations that work on educating less privileged children. You can support them through donations or volunteer your time.
You can also organize fundraising or a book donation drive. If your time allows, you can even tutor them yourself. Ask your local school boards if they have after-school programs you can participate in. Or if you want to help more children, you can also volunteer for NGOs abroad.
Make Them Feel That Someone Still Cares
As mentioned, most underprivileged kids came from dysfunctional families. This often leaves them with various traumas and mental health issues which molds them into dysfunctional adults.
That’s why for children from underprivileged backgrounds, compassion is essential. If we can help them feel that someone still cares, it will not only ease their suffering. We’ll also be helping them become better and responsible adults who can contribute positively to society.
There are a lot of ways to go about this. You can sponsor a child, either from your local community or through a non-profit organization. Participating in a big-brother, small brother program would be a good idea too. It helps provide unfortunate kids the emotional support most of them badly need. Even just treating them with kindness can go a long way.
Fulfill Their Basic Needs
All of us need food, clothing, and shelter. Unfortunately, not all of us have access to them. This is especially true for kids who came from poor backgrounds.
Food banks, soup kitchens, and other charity organizations around the world have programs especially for kids. You can help them by donating cash, food, and clothing items.
If you want a more localized approach, you can also organize food drives or a fundraising event in your church or community. Donate the proceeds to orphanages, homeless shelters, and struggling families. You can also start a feeding program for kids from public schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
These are just some of the things we can do for disadvantaged children. We still have a long way to go to give every child the normal and comfortable childhood they deserve. But if we can give even just one child the chance of a better future, then it’s a step in the right direction.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of Correct Digital, Inc which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.