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Bleeding from Exploitation

Adding another feather to its cap, India showcased its nuclear muscle on this republic day to the entire world. By doing this, India has taken a step towards being in the queue of the developed nations across the world. However, the challenge of child labour exploitation brings us back to the category of developing and underdeveloped countries. It is heart breaking to see thousands of children below 14 years of age working in factories and households.

Childhood is considered to be the most innocent phase of human life. It is the phase when the human foundations are laid for a successful adult life. Yet, a lot of children never experience this phase fully. Many children are only scarred and tormented and simply hate their childhood. They want to break free from this problematic phase and would do anything for getting out of the dungeons of being children.
In an otherwise developed country, these underprivileged children work at the cost of their right to education thereby leaving them permanently trapped in poverty, sadly without education and literacy required for well-paid jobs. Although the national data claims that around 17 million children in India are engaged in child labour, reality is much more alarming. As many as 60 million children are working as labourers in various industries across the country, out of which a large percentage of them work as hidden workers in homes and underground economy.
Reasons behind increasing child labour are often associated with poverty, inadequate public education system and the needs of the large families in the country. A large number of families are generally unable to send their children to school as they cannot afford to go without their children’s income for long.
Further, the demand put forward by several industries across the country has aggravated the situation. Many manufacturing firms and sweat shops are mindfully established at poverty stricken areas which attract children to work as labourers. With profits maximising objectives, these firms are in profit by employing the children rather than adults due to their cheaper wages, higher efficiency and most importantly the absence of union problems.
Although itself and evil, the worst form of child labour is much more heinous than the principal form. Bonded child labour is the most crucial form of child labour in which children are sold by their parents for a petty sum, or to pay off some debt. These children unknowingly enter a long run employer slave relationship and are tied to the debt bondage for usually their entire lifetimes.
Although bondage is illegal in India and several initiatives are being taken to stop bonded child labour, little has been done so far to improve the condition of these children. Both bonded labour system (abolition) act, 1976 and child labour (prohibition and regulation) act 1986 have hardly contributed for the upliftment of these children. This inefficiency of these acts can be attributed to the use of loopholes and ambiguity by the employers.
Child Labour is prevalent in a number of industries where children are tortured beyond imagination to be made useful to the business.
• Child labour in agricultural sector: About 80% child labourers in the country are employed in the agricultural sector. Mostly, children are sold to the money lenders who make them work in the farmed lands.
• Street Children: Children work as beggars, flower sellers and are also used for selling small articles on the roads around the traffic signals and main points. They go hungry for days on not fetching enough money to the employer. In fact, most of them are purposely starved to create sadness in the minds of people who would either give them something or buy the article from them.
• Glass Factories: Almost 60,000 children are employed in glass and bangle industry and are forced to work in extreme conditions like excessive heat.
• Matchbox Factories: Experts claim that out of the total labourers working in this industry, more than 35% are children below 14 years of age. They are forced to work 12 hours a day, usually starting at 4 in the morning.
• Carpet Industry: Around 4, 20,000 children are employed in the carpet industry in the country.
It has to be understood by the general public in the country that the malady of child labour has to be reduced by all means and it can only be done if every individual takes the responsibility of reporting and bringing into limelight. As a member of the general community, this fact has to be understood by the people of the country that no evil can be removed just by the implementation of appropriate rules and regulations.
Government, police or even the judiciary cannot do anything without the help of the people who live and see child labour all around them. It is our social responsibility to first speak against any such thing happening around us and then take the things forward by reporting such cases to the authorities.
On the other hand, government need to come forward with better policies and should ensure better implementation of these policies to abolish this ill practice that has robbed millions of children around us from living a peaceful and happy childhood.

Generations born abused – child abuse

Whenever I see a child he looks with innocence at me without knowing why I am looking at him. From centuries the presence of the kids have always been consider as a positive sign of prosperity and luck. But as the world started progressing the positive intentions were changed into the abusive side against those who are viewed as the future of the national society, who helped in building a smart and bright future. Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible sign, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse or child neglect, also leave deep, long lasting scars.

Physical abuse is shocking due to the scars it leaves, not all child abuse is as obvious. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervised, dangerous situations, or making a child feel worthless or stupid are also child abuse. Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse.

Non-accidental physical injury may include severe beatings, burns, biting, strangulation and scalding with resulting bruises, welts, broken bones, scars or serious internal injuries. (National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse) An “abused child”, under the law, means a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for the child’s care inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates substantial risk of death or serious disfigurement, or impairment of physical health, or loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. It is also considered “abuse” if such a caretaker creates or allows to be created situations whereby a child is likely to be in risk of the dangers mentioned above.

Physical Indicators: bite marks, unusual bruises, lacerations, burns, high incidence of accidents or frequent injuries, fractures in unusual places, injuries, swellings to face and extremities and discoloration of skin.

Behavioral Indicators in Child: avoids physical contact with others, apprehensive when other children cry, wears clothing to purposely conceal injury, i.e. long sleeves, refuses to undress for gym or for required physical exams at school, gives inconsistent versions about occurrence of injuries, burns, etc., seems frightened by parents, often late or absent from school, comes early to school, seems reluctant to go home afterwards, has difficulty getting along with others, little respect for others, overly compliant, withdrawn, gives in readily and allows others to do for him/her without protest, plays aggressively, often hurting peers, complains of pain upon movement or contact, has a history of running away from home and reports abuse by parents.

Family or Parental Indicators: many personal and marital problems, economic stress, parent(s) were abused as children themselves, were raised in homes where excessive punishment was the norm, and use harsh discipline on own children, highly moralistic, history of alcohol or drug abuse, are easily upset, have a low tolerance for frustration, are antagonistic, suspicious and fearful of other people, social isolation, no supporting network of relatives or friends, see child as bad or evil, little or no interest in child’s well-being; do not respond appropriately to child’s pain, explanation of injuries to child are evasive and inconsistent, blame child for injuries, constantly criticize and have inappropriate expectations of child and take child to different physicians or hospital for each injury

Neglect and emotional abuse can be just as damaging, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene. While it’s easy to say that only “bad people” abuse their children, it’s not always so black and white. Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or a substance abuse problem.

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value.

Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones.

In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

Child abuse doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. It crosses all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors. While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family. It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children.

On the other hand, many adult survivors of child abuse have a strong motivation to protect their children against what they went through and become excellent parents.

Child’s ability to cope: A child will find a way to cope with the abuse. The methods a child uses can add to the effects. Coping skills can be:

  • Physical, such as raging or becoming the “comedian” or “class clown”. While being “funny” is generally considered an attribute, there are children who use humour to cover up the fact that they are suffering.
  • Emotional, such as the child refusing to try anything new for fear of failure, and therefore avoids receiving even more negative messages about themselves.
  • Inward, where the child turns against him/herself, either physically (such as in self-harming in the form of cutting or burning) or emotionally (such as in self-blame).
  • Outward, such as when the child acts out against someone else.

Children and youth suffer physical pain, trauma, and emotional scars when they are victims of child abuse. The physical child abuse effects also vary depending on the age of the child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Child Abuse Figures:

Although the incidence of child abuse and neglect has been decreasing in recent years, more than 1.25 million, or 1 in every 58 children in the United States, were abused in 2006. More than half (61 percent) of the children (771,700 children) were victims of neglect, meaning a parent or guardian failed to provide for the child’s basic needs. Forms of neglect include educational neglect (360,500 children), physical neglect (295,300 children), and emotional neglect (193,400). Another 44 percent were victims of abuse (553,300 children), including physical abuse (325,000 children), sexual abuse (135,000 children), and emotional abuse (148,500 children).

An average of nearly four children dies every day as a result of child abuse or neglect (1,760 in 2007). In 2007, nearly one-half of all victims of child abuse and neglect were White (46.1%), one-fifth (21.7%) were African-American, and one-fifth (20.8%) were Hispanic.

Although children of all ages experience abuse and neglect, it is the youngest children that are the most vulnerable, with almost 32% of the victims of child abuse and neglect being under the age of four years. 14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children. 36% of all women in prison were abused as children. Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime. More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.

Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion.

Indian Child Abuse Figures:

During a study on child abuse in Kolkata – India, four out of 10 boys faced sexual harassment in school. Generally the age of maximum abuse is between 9 to 12 years.  The national study found that the abuse gained momentum at the age of 10 and peaked from 12 to 15. A Belgian Catholic Church-backed commission   published a report on September 10, 2010 revealing hundreds of cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by clergy and church workers, and 13 suicides by abuse victims.

The commission said it had received 475 complaints in the first six months of this year from alleged victims or their families. Most were related to charges of sexual abuse committed between the 1950s and the late 1980s by Catholic clergy, but also by teachers of religion and adults working with youth movements.

India has become one of the hottest child sex tourism destinations. A report, Trafficking in Women and Children in India, sponsored by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), highlights this, mentioning not just Goa, which since the 1990s has uncovered rackets by Freddy Peats and Helmut Brinkmann, but also Alleppy and Ernakulam districts of Kerala, where houseboat tourism has lately seen a boom. In Kerala, “sex on the water” is the latest rage for paedophiles. Most paedophiles heading for Kerala start in Delhi, where police estimates the existence of 10 cartels specialising in child sex tourism. “With nearly a lakh homeless children in Capital, it’s easy for paedophiles to come and expolit them” says Dr Rajat Mitra, who heads Swanchetan, an NGO specialising rape trauma.  In Mumbai, nearly 70,000 minors are abused yearly, estimates Kusumbar Choudhury of Save the Children India.

There are 500,000 children in prostitution, in India. More than 3 children die a day in the USA. Of the total number of children who were killed in the USA, from 1976-1997, 54 percent were killed by a parent, 15 percent were killed by strangers or unknown persons. There are over 15 million children in bonded labour, in India today. Twice as many girls than boys engaged in child labour. 63% of girls in Delhi, have experienced child sexual abuse at the hands of a family member (Sakshi, 1997).
In a study of a 1000 girls from 5 different states in India, (Rahi, 1997), 50% of the girls said that they had been abused when under 12 years of age, 35% had been abused between the ages of 12- 16 years of age. The average sex offender has 76 victims. (American data)

There are at least 18 million children living on the streets in India. In a number of joint studies conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour, 75% of the children reported treatment by staff as bad and 91.7% reported provisions of necessities as bad, Bangalore. In Mumbai 75.4 % reported bad treatment by staff and 53.2 reported that provisions were poor. One million children are trafficked into prostitution, in Asia every year.

Australian Child Abuse Figures:

A child may be the subject of more than one notification – in 2009-10, the 286,437 notifications recorded during the financial year concerned 187,314 children. The number of children subject to a notification has increased by 16% in the last 5 years (161,930 to 187,314) in Australia (though there was a 10% drop from a high of 207,462 children in 2008-09). There were 35,895 children in out-of-home care on 30 June 2010. In all jurisdictions the total number of children residing in an out-of-home care placement was higher at 30 June 2010 when compared with 30 June 2009. However the number of children admitted into out-of-home care decreased by 6% from 12,833 in 2008-09 to 12,002 in 2009-10. Almost one-third (30%) of children in out-of-home care were aged 10-14 years. A further 30% were aged 5-9 years, 25% were aged less than 5 years and 15% were aged 15-17 years.

Of those children in home-based care, 49.1% were in foster care, 48.5% were in relative/kinship care, and 2.2% were in some other type of home-based care.

A small proportion of children (5%) removed from their homes were placed in residential care, where staff were paid to care for them. Children in residential care were considerably older than children in home-based care, with 40% aged between 10-14 years and a further 45.7% aged between 15-17 years.

Pakistan’s Child Abuse Figures:

The number of cases of child abuse reported across the country increased from 4,386 to 5,268 in 2007, a report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) has revealed. In 2006, the number of child trafficking cases was 86, police torture 96 and suicide incidents 18 whereas in 2007, cases of child kidnapping increased to 324, police torture 241 and suicides to 520. The statistics also reveal that 726 children were murdered; 387 female and 305 male children were sexually assaulted; 366 children became victims of physical torture; 85 were punished under Karo Kari; 1,084 children were kidnapped; and 1,230 children went missing during 2007.

The issue of violence against children is worsening as around 3,051 children were victimised in Punjab. Balochistan had the lowest number of cases, with 225 abuse cases in 2007. Report reveals ‘widespread’ phenomenon of male child prostitution Says children serving long terms in prison for minor offences. Says that 11,000 kiln workers in Sahiwal are under the age of 16.

It said that conditions in jails were worse and there were no special provisions for children living with their mothers. The report mentioned that there were some 70,000 children living on the streets nationwide. It said that Lahore is estimated to have 7,000 children living on the streets while in Peshawar there are a further 5,000. There are around 2,500 children in Quetta and 3,000 children in Rawalpindi are living on the streets.

Kilns: Quoting the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the report says that of more than 2,200 persons deported to Pakistan in 2007, 15 were children less than 18 years of age. The report also says that the number of children affected by the child labour and bonded labour is worsening with a rise in poverty. It mentioned that in Sahiwal, 11,000 kiln workers are younger than 16.

Researched Circumstances and some facts:

Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. Abused teens are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children. Children whose parents’ abuse alcohol and other drugs are three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families. One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.

Save child save future being abused.

International Literacy Day; September 8

September 8 was proclaimed as the International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17th 1965 and first celebrated in 1966 with the sole aim to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

Today some 793 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills; 1 in 5 adults are not literate and 2/3 is women, 75 million children are not studying in school and many more drop out.

According to UNESCO’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2008)”, South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy (58,6%), Sub-Saharan Africa (59,7%) and the Arab states (62,7%).

Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12,8%), Niger (14,4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows that there is a connection between illiteracy, poverty and prejudice against women.

Why is literacy important?

Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depends on literacy as it is the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).

 

Source; Wikipedia and Unesco.

To see the complete list of countries, visit; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

Congratulations to Norway on their Indipendence Day May 17

May 17th is a special day as it marks the Independence Day and the establishment of the constitution that was signed in 1814. It’s a National holiday and celebrated not only by Norwegians in Norway but also by those who are living abroad.

 

The day is known for its parades with children and adults and the longest parade takes place in the capital each year. Each elementary school district arranges its own parade with marching bands between each school. The parades takes the children through the community as they make stops at homes of senior citizens, war memorials and many other places to pay their respects. The Oslo parade includes 100 schools and marching bands as they walk through the city and pass the Royal Palace where the Royal family greets the people from the main balcony as children sing the national anthem and the royal anthem. The event is broadcasted on TV every year with comments and local reports from celebrations around the country.

Immense beauty of Norway

It is not enough to describe Norway with only one word. There is many aspects with the county that has made it one of the best countries to live in.

First of all, the countries environmental policy has brought green solution, less pollution, more green areas and safety for areas where children play and go to school. The air is very clean as for the drinking water as well.

Norway is known for its beautiful nature and the fjords. Tourists come from all over the world to enjoy the green nature and the amazing rivers that looks like it’s taken out from a fairy tale. It’s a land of intense beauty as the Aurora shapes the sky with its different colors illuminating the mountains and deep rivers. I like to spend time by the harbor in Oslo in warm spring and summer days watching the ships sail and people walking by. As I travel around sometimes, I usually find myself spending time sitting on balcony of hotels from the Victorian era as I drink coffee.

Besides being a kingdom, Norway has also one of the best democracy systems together with full freedom of speech. It is known to be a peaceful nation who always acts as peacemakers and negotiators rather than going to war. One example is the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden that happened in a peaceful way.

The Nobel Peace Center acts as the voice and meeting place where discussions and reflections related to war, peace and conflict resolution is in focus and important part of the Norwegian culture as the Peace Prize is awarded to the person who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Norway is ranked 16th out of 43 countries in the Europe region and with its high income tax, the population benefits well from it when it comes to health care, social help and welfare. The welfare system is stabile in the country and makes sure that everyone who needs help gets their basic needs.

Norway is a constitutional monarchy where the King has symbolic power and the power is with the state. The politics takes place in the parliamentary representative constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the King’s council and the cabinet, led by the PM. Legislative power is vested in both the government elected within a multi party system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive branch and the legislature.

Norwegian people are very friendly and warm people. They value human rights and are a peaceful nation. On this day, I congratulate every Norwegian on their independence day and wish for more peaceful years to come.

Nigerian healer married 107 women

I heard about polygamy some days ago and researched on the phenomenon, but while I was reading on this subject, I came across news that was way over the border of polygamy. I was laughing hard as I read about a man in Nigeria that has married 107 times. Today, when it is hard enough to deal with only 1 wife, I don’t understand how this man have the patience of having this much women in his home. If he goes to work outside the home and doesn’t come back before late evening then it is understandable.

Bello Maasaba, working as a healer in Nigeria has married 107 women throughout the years. The 87 year old man has 86 wives now aged between 19 and 64 years old and he stated that he will continue to get married.

He has already divorced 12 wives because of “disobedience” and is currently looking for “Ms Right”. Maasaba had a total of 185 children but only 133 are alive and the youngest one is only 1 month old. The city of Niger is run by the Sharia law and the city administration told Masaaba 3 years ago to divorce 82 of the wife’s so that the number of wives would be 4.

We all know about examples of men in their late 70s who are spending most of their time chasing women and girls. Hugh Hefner and the famous Silvio Berlusconi who said that he was “superman” when a person stated that he needed psychology help for the problem.

The curse of the Acacia tree

In the clinic area, some 150 people gather together for the daily painful ritual. The common thing between these poor souls is the thick stick they all support themselves on. They are all infected by Kala Azar. The treatment is extremely painful as the patient gets a high dosage of medicine injected on the seat muscle. During the 17 days of treatment, most of the patients have to be hold down by 3-4 people and to manage to walk afterwards; they have to use a walking stick. But even though the pain, these patients are the lucky ones. Some children have to walk days with high fever just to reach the clinic, and others never make it there.

The eruption

Life goes on in the villages as women carry water and children playing around. The big acacia tree looks beautiful at sunrise and sunset and the children likes to play around it. But it is here that the black sand fly is that infects 500,000 people a year. It is when the sun is on its way down that the fly’s swirls around the red tree. Children up to the age of 4 are most affected that attacks the skin, eyes and mouth.

2010 has been the year with large eruption since the largest epidemic happened in Sudan on the west side of Upper Nile under the civil war in 1980 and 1990’s. 100,000 people lost their life and many villages were left empty.

The reason for the epidemic can be explained by the large amount of refugees returning back after the peace deal between north and south in 2005 and an increased number of internally displaced in the states of Upper Nile and Jonglei.

South Sudan has been battling with the worst epidemic of the deadly kala azar disease during the last 8 years, with tens of hundreds of people infected according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

If the patient is untreated, the parasitic disease, spread by the bite of an infected fly, is fatal in almost 100% of cases. By the end of November, MSF had treated 2,355 south Sudanese for the disease. By the end of October 2010, more than 9,330 cases in south Sudan had been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), most of these were children. Almost 5% of those who received treatment at medical facilities later died, according to the WHO.

What is Kala Azar?

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Kala Azar is a deadly disease caused by parasitic protozoa Leishmania donovani, transmitted to humans by the bite of infected female sandfly, Phlebotomus argentipes. It lowers immunity, causes persistent fever, anemia, liver and spleen enlargement, loss of body weight, diarrhea, and fatigue and if it is left untreated, it kills. The disease suppresses the immune system so that the patient is vulnerable to other infections. Kala Azar was first discovered of Western doctors in 1824 in Jessore, India (today’s Bangladesh) thinking it was malaria. The name Kala Azar is derived from Kala which means black in Sanskrit, Assamese, Hindi and Urdu and the Persian Azar for disease. It is regarded as the second disease after Malaria taking lives.

Current situation

The disease is endemic in three countries; Bangladesh, India and Nepal and approximately 200 million people in the Region are “at risk” from the disease. The disease is now being reported in 45 districts in Bangladesh, 52 in India and 12 in Nepal. The total number of districts reporting Kala Azar exceeds 109. Of the estimated 500,000 people in the world infected each year, nearly 100,000 are estimated to occur in the Region. In the endemic countries, Kala Azar affects the poorest as they have little knowledge about the disease and unlikely to seek early treatment and most of those who start treatment cannot afford to complete it.

Treatments

The Indian medical practitioner, Upendra Nath Brahmachari, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929 for his discovery of ureastibamine (an antimonial compound for the treatment of Kala Azar) and a new disease, post Kala Azar dermal leishmaniasis.

Even with recovery, kala-azar does not always leave the person unmarked. Sometime after successful treatment, a few months with African Kala Azar, or several years with the Indian one, a secondary form of the disease may set in, called post Kala Azar dermal leishmaniasis, or PKDL. This condition shows up as small, measles on the face, which gradually increases in size and spreads over the body. Eventually the lesions may form disfiguring, swollen structures resembling leprosy, and occasionally causing blindness if they spread to the eyes.

The medicine is expensive and the treatment very painful. The fact that this disease affects the poor and malnourished is making it worse. Most of the doctors working in the cities do not have the possibility to get to many villages or to transport the medicine for various reasons. To help these people, much needs to be done, and much money is needed for medicine and transport. The fact that children have to walk for days under the burning sun for days with high fever and extreme pain is sad and hard to imagine for us but unfortunately true.

 

International Water Day

Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.

More than half of this area is over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (‰) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ‰. Scientists estimate that 230,000 marine species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number.

The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria. These divisions are (in descending order of size):

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  • Pacific Ocean, which separates Asia and Australia from the Americas
  • Atlantic Ocean, which separates the Americas from Eurasia and Africa
  • Indian Ocean, which washes upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia
  • Antarctic Ocean, sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, which encircles Antarctica.
  • Arctic Ocean, sometimes considered a sea of the Atlantic, which covers much of the Arctic and washes upon northern North America and Eurasia.

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The Pacific and Atlantic may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays, straits and other names.

Geologically, an ocean is an area of oceanic crust covered by water. Oceanic crust is the thin layer of solidified volcanic basalt that covers the Earth’s mantle. Continental crust is thicker but less dense. From this perspective, the earth has three oceans: the World Ocean, the Caspian Sea, and Black Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is at times a discrete ocean, because tectonic plate movement has repeatedly broken its connection to the World Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, but the Bosporus is a natural canal cut through continental rock some 7,000 years ago, rather than a piece of oceanic sea floor like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Lack of clean water


Almost 50% of the developing world’s population; 2.5 billion people lacks improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible.

Source; UNICEF, July 2010

Facts about water

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Every day, lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands, leaving others with reduced quality of life.

  • 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
  • 3.575 million People die each year from water-related disease.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Sanitation

  • Only 62% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
  • Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
  • 2.5 billion People lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.
  • Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most occupy impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities.

Children

  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • Diarrhea is more prevalent in the developing world due, in large part, to the lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as poorer overall health and nutritional status.
  • Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.
  • In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.
  • 1.4 million Children die as a result of diarrhea each year.

Women

  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.
  • This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal*Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • A study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not. This supports an earlier World Bank study that found that women’s participation was strongly associated with water and sanitation project effectiveness.

Diseases


  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.
  • Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
  • 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
  • 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
  • It is estimated that improved sanitation facilities could reduce diarrhea-related deaths in young children by more than one-third. If hygiene promotion is added, such as teaching proper hand washing, deaths could be reduced by two thirds. It would also help accelerate economic and social development in countries where sanitation is a major cause of lost work and school days because of illness.

Economics

  • Over 50 % of all water projects fail and less than five percent of projects are visited, and far less than one percent have any longer-term monitoring.
  • Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology.
  • Almost two in every three people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day.
  • Households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

Environment


  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
  • The UN estimates that by 2025, forty-eight nations, with combined population of 2.8 billion, will face freshwater “stress” or “scarcity”. Our Water.org High School Curriculum
  • Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far: about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated agriculture.
  • At home the average American uses between 100 and 175 gallons of water a day. That is less than 25 years ago, but it does not include the amount of water used to feed and clothe us.
  • Conserving water helps not only to preserve irreplaceable natural resources, but also to reduce the strain on urban wastewater management systems. Wastewater is costly to treat, and requires continuous investment to ensure that the water we return to our waterways is as clean as possible.

Source; http://www.water.org

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