#Moms4MDGs: Why ending extreme poverty and hunger matters

We’re helping World Moms Blog kick off an 8-part series on the Millennium Development Goals. Read mom blogger Nicole Melancon’s article on what MDG1 means to her as a mom, here, then find out where catch next month’s post in the series at the end of her piece. 

ThirdEyeMom

Have you ever seen extreme poverty? Have you ever walked inside an unauthorized slum without running water, toilets and paved roads? I have. And now that I have witnessed it first hand, I will never be the same.

Photo caption: Nicole met these two girls during her visit to an unauthorized slum in Delhi with Save the Children. Photo credit: Nicole Melancon/ThirdEyeMom.com.

During a recent trip to India as part of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, I had the opportunity to see partner NGOs work on the ground inside the slums of Delhi, where I witnessed the devastating impact of extreme poverty on thousands of people living in crammed makeshift communities. As a mother of two and social good advocate, learning about life inside a slum was life-changing.  Inside the slums, people live in unimaginable conditions in which survival is a matter of life or death.

Oftentimes, women do not have access to health care services for themselves or their children.  And they do not have enough money to feed their family and their children are prone to disease and malnutrition.  Children are often expected to work to help feed the family and often don’t go to school further, reinforcing the destructive cycle of poverty that many are unable to ever escape.

Per the UN Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG1) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, here’s where we stand for the 2015 deadlines:

Target 1.A, to half between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day. This target was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. However 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty.

Target 1.B: to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young. In 2011 384 million workers globally lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line, a reduction of 294 million since 2001.

Target 1.C: Halve between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. This target is within reach by 2015.  But globally, about 870 million people are estimated to be undernourished and more than 100 million children under age 5 are still undernourished and underweight.

When I was in the slums of Delhi, we met with mothers groups and learned about their daily struggles to survive. In a country which holds the second largest population in the world, an astounding number of people live in poverty: 240 million in the countryside and 72 million in cities, a number almost equivalent to the entire population of the United States. Furthermore, an alarming 1.6 million children, or 29 percent of the world total, die before the age of 5, largely due to preventable causes in which poverty is a huge factor.

All this made me think. I couldn’t help but imagine, “What would I do as a mother living in extreme poverty and hunger?”

As a mother, I’d be faced with decisions that are impossible to make. How would I decide which child should eat and which one would go to bed hungry? How would I decide which child should go to school and which ones should stay home and work? Even worse, how would I possibly decide which child to leave alongside the road to die when I was too sick to carry them both to the nearest hospital located two days walk away?

These are decisions that no mother should ever have to make. Yet sadly, mothers around the world living in extreme poverty are forced to make these unimaginable decisions every single day. After seeing the tragic, devastating impact of poverty firsthand through the eyes of a mother, I realized there was no way I would ever be the same.

I will use my voice and power as a writer, advocate and global volunteer to do my best to eliminate extreme poverty and suffering. I will not turn my back on the mothers around the world just like me, who want to enjoy the blessings of motherhood and raising their children. In a world, where some have so much, and others so little, it is my obligation to end extreme poverty, hunger and suffering. You can too.

Nicole Melancon is an avid writer, traveler and global volunteer who shares her journey at www.thirdeyemom.com. She also writes for World Moms Blog and Mom Bloggers for Social Good, and is an advocate for the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life and ONE Moms.

***

You can use your voice on Twitter to raise awareness for the Millennium Development Goals and join World Moms Blog as we take a monthly journey around the organizations, such as ONE, that are working relentlessly year-round toward the MDG goals. Please join our next #Moms4MDGs Twitter party about MDG1 on Wednesday, August 14th, at 9 p.m. And find us next month over at Save the Children for MDG2 in the series! 

#Moms4MDGs Button

Sign up to become a ONE Mom here. Stay in touch following #ONEMoms on Twitter or liking the ONE Moms Facebook page.