College students must notice the extreme poor

By Kelsey Kastrava
September 20, 2010

As extreme poverty grips one sixth of our world’s population, extreme devastation including war, illness and political turmoil are haunting the lives of one billion people. All of these people live outside of the U.S., leaving developed countries like our own faced with what to do about the problem that is poverty.

But why should Americans be concerned about poverty half way across the world when we have our own economic crisis burdening our citizens? The U.S. is experiencing its own poverty through our generation’s Great Depression. In addition, many of our fellow citizens are fighting in the war on terror, adding to our countries debt.

Nevertheless, it is through our country’s efforts in addressing the problem of poverty in extremely impoverished places that we will eventually benefit from their growth.

Americans often question why we should care enough about poverty elsewhere and furthermore, why we should need to do something to help. What these questioning people do not realize is that poverty leads to international insecurity.

The Loquitur sees well-conceived foreign aid as a guiding hand in discovering and fixing the root causes of poverty. If our country’s foreign aid wealth had even a tiny fraction more money as the half trillion going to military each year, we may have something to work with. It is estimated that the U.S. spends 30 times more money on military assistance than what we give to poor countries. We are fighting instead of fixing and only hindering our country’s development while ignoring the root problem of poverty in poor countries.

War breaks out as a result of vulnerability and desperation. People fight over precious land, minerals beneath the ground and dictatorship. Poor people who have nothing else to lose partake in vicious combat and even genocide because it is the only way to fight for their family’s survival. Without developed countries like the U.S. helping places around the world to become developed, violence and suffering will continue to happen.

As college students and young adults who will be our country’s future generation of innovators, doctors and problem solvers, we must make ourselves aware of the harsh realities beyond our borders.

Too many of us are isolated from the places in the world that need our help. It is our duty to utilize our education to help find a solution to poverty. It is not impossible. In fact, progress has been made that you may not even know about. Our world’s extreme poverty rate has decreased from five billion to just one billion people.  We will be adults with our own families shortly after college. We cannot wait around to notice what is going on in the world. Instead we must be a part of the change that needs to happen now.

More recently in current events, Sudan’s fate is soon to be decided. In a desperate time for the south of Sudan, their extremely impoverished citizens are inclined to vote to secede from the north. In doing so they will legally be able to profit off of their precious minerals. However, in a place where peace rarely exists, the north will not allow this to happen. A genocide is likely to take place, one that will compare to no other mass murder in Africa’s history. This potential catastrophe is a result of poverty.

The fate of places like Sudan and many other extremely poor countries around the world is partly in our hands. We must take notice. We must lead by example and speak with the leaders of our country, starting with our senators to do something, anything to help the poorest people in the world. If we allow these happenings to go unnoticed, we will someday be cleaning up the huge mess of this generations neglect of the poor.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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