Hope for Children

GFA World Offers Hope for Children

With the global problem of poverty continuing to perpetuate, it is vital to do everything possible to provide hope for children. In the United States alone, about 11 million children are considered poor. That is one in seven kids who make up one-third of all people living in poverty in the country.[1] If poverty is that prevalent in America, one of the wealthiest nations, the problem is surely much worse in the world’s most impoverished nations, many of which are found in Africa and Asia.

Millions of children globally are cast aside, orphaned or kidnapped and sold into bonded labor or the sex trade; others are runaways. Each of these situations leads to countless abandoned kids being forgotten by society.

South Asia has more than 18 million street children, some of whom are being forced to beg or may turn to prostitution or drugs in their desperation. Eleven million children in the same region are separated from their families, and tens of thousands of baby girls are abandoned by their parents each year.[2]

These poor children are not only found in Asia; Africa also has many children in crisis. About half of the population of Africa is under the age of 15, making it a very young, very poor continent.[3] In sub-Saharan Africa, about 32 million children, mostly girls, are not in school, and the same region has very little access to clean water or proper healthcare, leading to many preventable deaths from treatable illnesses.[4]

Poverty forces many children into labor. Worldwide, approximately 152 million kids between the ages of 5 and 17 are victims of child labor, and almost half of them work in hazardous jobs. Children under age 12 perform up to a fourth of all hazardous child labor. Almost half of all child labor is found in Africa with 72.1 million kids working. In Asia and the Pacific, there are 62.1 million child workers. Over 70 percent of child labor is concentrated in agriculture, including fishing, forestry and livestock work.[5]

Labor greatly increases children’s mental health issues. The very definition of child labor, according to the International Labour Organization, is “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.”[6] Being forced to work, instead of going to school, sacrifices a child’s future on the altar of immediate relief from poverty. Even with kids working to contribute to their family’s income, poverty is often a nearly impossible cycle for families to end, especially since education is one of the best ways to break out of it.

GFA World is working hard to create hope for children in Africa and Asia. We have worked in Asia for more than 40 years and recently began work in Africa as well. GFA’s efforts in Africa were established in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2021, continuing our mission of meeting people’s tangible needs and sharing the Gospel with those who need it most.[7]

GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program provides children access to essentials such as food, water, school supplies, healthcare, hygiene training and sanitary waste disposal. Easing the financial burden on families allows these kids to stay in school. Every extra year of school means a 9 percent increase in their future hourly earnings.[8] Entire communities are lifted up through GFA’s work as they provide practical solutions for children, their families and their communities.[9]

Eight-year-old Neale lived with his parents in a rural village surrounded by a mountainous landscape perfect for growing tea. Like most of the community, Neale’s parents worked in the tea fields, which should have at least provided for the family’s basic needs, but his father spent much of his earnings on alcohol, leaving his mother to pick up the slack.[10]

Watching his mother struggle and his dad fail the family motivated Neale. He wanted to finish school and get a job to support his mother. But Neale couldn’t always afford bus fare to get to school, meaning he missed a lot, and when he was there, he was playing catch-up. All this greatly narrowed his opportunities for the future.

One of Neale’s teachers noticed his falling grades and visited his home to speak to his mom. There was a program that could help kids like Neale with tutoring. His mom quickly enrolled him in GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, and he clung to their guidance and thrived under their care as they fed him and helped with hygiene. Neale’s grades began to rise and so did his hope. The goal of getting a job to help his mother became more and more attainable, and it is all thanks to the ministries of GFA World giving children hope, all in the name of Jesus.[11]

Neale is one of thousands of children receiving care and tools from GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program. Consider joining this effort by sponsoring a child. As of this writing, there are 2,028 children awaiting sponsorship.[12]It just takes $35 a month to provide life-changing hope for children all over the world.

Learn more about what is child labor

[1] Haider, Areeba. “The Basic Facts about Children in Poverty.” Cap Report. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/basic-facts-children-poverty. January 12, 2021.
[2] “Widows and Abandoned Children.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/ministries/abandoned-children. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[3] “Population of Africa in 2021, by age group.” Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1226211/population-of-africa-by-age-group/. July 2022.
[4] “GFA World Expands Ministry to Africa.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/africa. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[5] Maki, Reid. “10 Basic Facts about Child Labor Globally.” The Child Labor Coalition. https://stopchildlabor.org/the-basic-facts-about-child-labor-globally-from-the-ilo. July 16, 2018.
[6] “What is Child Labour.” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[7] “GFA World Expands Ministry to Africa.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/africa. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[8] “What is Child Labour.” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[9] “Sponsor a Child with GFA World.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[10] “Keeping His Future Intact.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/keeping-his-future-intact-wfr21-10/. October 2021.
[11] “Keeping His Future Intact.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/keeping-his-future-intact-wfr21-10. October 2021.
[12] “Sponsor a Child with GFA World.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild/. Accessed November 7, 2022.