Over 600 million children worldwide live in absolute poverty -- an estimated 1 in 4. In many countries, rates are much higher with over 60 percent of children living in households with incomes below international poverty lines. We need to find that "internal olive branch" and decide to change.
It is my hope that we have the courage to reach down within ourselves with both hands, and grasp with two fists this olive branch and define our own accountability to confront the issues surrounding crisis children and poverty. If we together can find the peace "olive branch" within ourselves then we will have moved forward a hundred steps toward ridding the world of childhood poverty and the lies and deception that go along with those deceit.
This persistence and courage to go within ourselves, find our part and face the facts, will be the beginning, I promise, of the answer.
This answer is not hiding from us in the forest of the African continent, nor is it hidden away in the brothels of the Far East dark streets, nor is it buried in sands of the deserts, nor is it hidden away in broken down villages and huts where disease and AIDS run rampant. It is hidden no more in cardboard shanties in the metro cities of the world. It is hidden no more in the sweat factories and death trap profit centers. It is hidden no more.
It shall be brought into the light. We shall bring this into the light and we shall, by being diligently courageous, take primary responsibility for the lighting of the public lampstands on each continent and in each country and in each city and in each dwelling. Where there is darkness we shall be charged with the guardianship of change. Guardianship of personal responsibility and Guardianship of the truth as it relates to children and the poverty that exists in their lives and as a result, our lives. We can try to hide, we can try to run, but we can't run far enough, because the light will shine brightly and this light is love... This light is our shield and our sword and it is shinning brightly. The choices we make will decide if we shall defend the children or fall upon the swords of failure. Either way, the light will be there. Will it shine brightly and provide warmth? Will it give us joy or gives us shame? Rich and poor, weak and strong, the light nears. It is coming closer we can not hide we can not run.
I am not afraid, nor should you be.
We are here today brought together in this over-sized virtual living room, all from very special and different places with different unique cultures. We have chosen not to look at childhood poverty for the most part.
When we chose not to look, it gets worse -- every time!
The change that we are talking about today is about looking at it -- as it is!
You see it is my experience that our humanity is all tied up with each other. If you could only see me and hear me and talk to me, you, would see that I am like you. I get cold in the freezing temperature without warm protection. I get hungry like you and after a couple days become a different person due to starvation. When I cry, I cry like you. When I am happy and full of joy I experience this happiness like you.
I, like you, are like them. You, like me, are like them! WE ARE THE SAME!
This change come in the form of technology which today has finally caught up with our humanity and our humanitarian needs. The days of snapshots and poetic descriptions of conditions in some places of the globe meant to cause you guilt shall be replaced with live, unencumbered broadcasts which accurately portray the truth.
The voices of the forgotten children will now not only be heard, but will be watched and most excitedly, be interacted with.
A child that is hungry has a voice an utterance that comes from within and it is empty, scared and frightened. This child's voice can be heard. This voice can now have a world to interact with and as a result, this conditions that led to the hunger will be made public and hearts and hands will be in abundance.
You have before you the historic opportunity to embrace this technology and create lasting and sustainable change, education, empowerment, and advancement in the poorest and darkest areas on earth. YOU DO...
It is your generation -- it is our generation who has been given the torch so that we might light the way for future children. No longer, shall they live in darkness because we were having meetings to decide on their worth. No more shall we stand by and find excuses for continuing to stand in the dark. No more, I say no more!
The opportunity to interact with anyone anywhere at anytime is not a futuristic science fiction story -- it is NOW.
How do we get started?
FIRST, we must commit ourselves to opening the doors to your homes in your countries, SECOND, we must commit ourselves to opening our hearts to the world audience, and THIRD, we need to take personal responsibility for the three fold and systematic approach to childhood poverty.
1) Examining economic and social factors at different levels -- international, national and local -- which contribute to poverty in childhood and delivering technology nationally and locally into those the most severe areas. By broadcasting out to the world the true conditions as they are live we now bring together interpretation and reality. A video or live broadcast leave little to the imagination as to the dire straights and accurate current conditions.
2) Informing effective policy to end childhood poverty, communicating research findings to policy makers, practitioners and advocates by taking the results of the live broadcasts and acting upon them hand in hand with the public. By presenting to policy makers the before, during and after of the broadcast and the archived library the world will be aware of the success or failure of the programs and the effectiveness of the hosts.
3) Raising the profile of childhood poverty issues and increasing commitment to tackling them through anti-poverty policy and action which amounts to communicating the true nature, condition and actions being undertaken via broadcasts to the global audience -- the world is astute and can see for themselves when one has painted a picture for dramatic purposes.
Genuine life is not a watercolor painting nor is it a staged play. Real life broadcasts divulges the authentic story as it is happening.
Chairman The AllHumanity Group