The crisis, a challenge for parents

One of the most important reforms followed this year is the fight against unemployment, which is itself a main consequence of the financial crisis. In general when there is a crisis outbreak, the first victims are always children –these children who, because of their parents losing their job in a more or less unfair way, have started to labor and work, seeking their daily bread.

For example, at age eleven, young Elsa and her ten years old brother Evra are working several hours a day in hard labor conditions in the region of Diana, in northern Madagascar. As for young Bino, he will either shepherd the zebus of his grand-father or search for gold in that same region. There are also millions of other children in the world scrounging through the garbage in order to survive.

There are children living in slums –in Bombay for example– while you and I are living in comfortable buildings and houses. There are children who are not going to school. Are we at ease with all this ? These children will not have received an education, and they will have to spend all their life in hard labor in the fields or pulling fruit carts.

According to the UNICEF report, 8.8 million children below 5 years of age died in 2008 –versus 12.5 millions in 1990. 4 million children in the world died during their first month. 101 million children never attended a primary school in 2007 –versus 115 million in 2002. 150 million children from 5 to 14 years old are working.

When children become slaves, society starts to drift away. When this happens, we may all start wondering what has happened of human dignity. This really is the problem.

Every child deserves a pen, and not a rifle. Every child deserves a school and an education, not a corn or a millet field.

Parents, protect the children, respect them, educate them, feed them, give them a name, make them happy, teach them to be healthy, guide them, inform them, give them a Nationality. The present crisis and unemployment are not excuses to make them work.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Happy new year 2010 in Christ the King! Bonne année 2010 en Christ le Roi !

Bishop de Paris

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