‘Children of today better off than 20 years ago’

Children have a better chance of growing up healthy, educated and protected.

Children have a better chance of growing up healthy, educated and protected.  

Children born today have a better chance than at any time in history to grow up healthy, educated and protected, with the opportunity to reach their full potential, says the Global Childhood Report recently released by Save the Children, an NGO working for the education and protection of child rights.

“Even a generation ago, a child was twice as likely to die before reaching age 5, 70% more likely to be involved in child labour and 20% more likely to be murdered,’’ it says.

The document indicates that in 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhood due to ill-health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death. That number has reduced to 690 million which effectively means that at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago.

“A comparison of End of Childhood Index scores finds the overall situation for children has improved in 173 of 176 countries since 2000. Tremendous progress is taking place in some of the poorest countries, providing ever increasing evidence that development work is paying huge dividends in countries where needs are greatest.’’

However, it warns that the world has made less progress in reducing adolescent births and child homicide, and there has been no progress at all in reducing the number of children living in areas of violence and conflict.

“In fact, the number of children living in war zones or forced to flee their homes due to conflict has skyrocketed since 2000. Today, 1 child in 4 is being denied the right to a childhood — a time of life that should be safe for growing, learning and playing. These stolen childhoods are increasingly concentrated in the world’s conflict zones,’’ says the report.

Highest displacement

When we look at number, there are 30.5 million more forcibly displaced people now than there were in 2000, an 80% increase.

“The world is experiencing the highest levels of displacement on record. Children make up about 30% of the world’s population, but more than half the world’s refugees are children.’’

Another important aspect brought was the fact that in 2016 alone, 85,000 boys and girls under the age of 20 were murdered. “About 40% of these victims were under 15. Compared to the 97,000 child homicides in 2000, this is 12,000 fewer and translates into a 17% decrease in the child homicide rate globally. Each of these deaths represents hundreds or even thousands more children who live in violent or abusive environments,’’ it says.

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