Crisis Watch: IPS stories on children
UNICEF is partnering with Inter Press Service Asia-Pacific (IPS) to provide special coverage on how the economic crisis is affecting children throughout the region. Crisis Watch: Children in East Asia provides a human face to the economic struggle and contributes to the monitoring of children's situations. The countries included in the agreement and where IPS draws on its network of correspondents to give voice to young people are: Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.
Equity key to cutting child mortality
Bangladesh has become quite a success in lowering its child mortality rate that it is now among the few nations that are poised to reduce this rate by two-thirds, which is the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG). And that is due in part to the government’s efforts to reach districts so remote that they were often overlooked or forgotten. Click to read the full report.
Vitamin A doses keep child malnutrition
Vitamin A is an important micronutrient for maintaining normal growth, and is essential for a well-functioning immune system and visual and reproductive functions.
Cash grants get youngsters back into school
Give the poor cash and they will spend it on things other than their most basic needs. Or with no thought for their future, let alone their children’s, they just might indulge in wasteful spending. Right? Click to read the full story.
School initiative making the grade
Although primary education in Nepal is free, Nathuni Yadav asked his son to help in farm work since there were too many mouths to feed in the family. Bharat stayed out of school for two years until he was spotted by a 'young champion', a volunteer who promotes girls' education in areas where girls’ enrolment rate is relatively lower. Click to read the full story.
When learning becomes fun, too
Students take turns in teaching their classmates or sharing anecdotes. This, both teachers believe, makes a student not only remember what they are taught but also gives them a sense of responsibility. Click to read the full story.
Migrant workers’ families face uncertainty ahead
“Sometimes we go to the mall,” said the 37-year-old Filipino mechanical engineer, who was retrenched four months ago from his job as a pressure-valve designer in a marine company. “But we spend weekends in church to help cut down on expenses. We do not have an expensive lifestyle.” Click to read the full report.
Poverty measures need support of rich nations
The financial crisis, which swept across the globe from 2007 onwards, presented an opportunity to pursue social protection programmes in the Pacific to address the needs of the vulnerable. The crisis presents an opportunity either to initiate or to broaden existing social protection programmes. Click to read the full report.
Mobile classes a lifeline to dropouts
Two years after the economic recession forced her out of school, 20-year-old Nurul Kumala is now back in classes – mobile classes, that is. “I want to improve my life and the lives of my parents,” a teary-eyed Kumala said when asked why she attends classes designed for street children in Bintaro, South Jakarta. Click to read the full report.
Hard times expose migrants’ worries about kids
Migrant workers face low wages, poor working conditions, and in most cases, long periods of separation from their children, who stay at home with relatives, friends or by themselves. Government estimates put the number of “left-behind” children at 58 million, accounting for 30 percent of all rural children. Click to read the full story.
Street kids learn to save in times of crisis
At the end of each day, street kids turn over their savings to area-based street educators, who record all the transactions. These educators also provide lessons on basic literacy and child rights. To withdraw money, the kids have to specify the reason for withdrawal. Those who can maintain good records are given incentives in the form of clothes or basic supplies. Click to read the full story.
‘I didn’t like school, I wanted to make money’
Shonal Chand, 16, has ditched school to work full time to assist his financially struggling family. He sells local seasonal fruits by the roadside six days a week. The situation of tens of thousands of poor families like Chand’s has become even more desperate. Such families are now forced to prematurely pull their children out of school and send them to work. Click to read the full story.
What price young lives?
Many rural Chinese have left their impoverished home villages for a better life in bigger cities, leaving behind their children with relatives seems only a small price to pay. But for some, the price is simply too high. When a three-story brick building in Yanghui Village in Hezhou was gutted by fire in November 2009, the majority of the victims turned out to be children. Click to read.
Migrants’ children are home alone
Some 130 million farmers have left their home villages in 2007 to join the ranks of migrant workers in cities across China and become the main labour force in construction, manufacturing, textile, processing and tertiary sectors. Meanwhile, over 58 million children are left in their rural homes to the care of grandparents or relatives. Click to read the full story.
For Malaysian children, social safety nets fall short
As signs of an economic slowdown emerged in September 2008, many children in communities, were really affected. They were deprived of milk powder. Young children would be having black coffee for breakfast and there was no milk in their diet, no emphasis on a balanced diet. Click to read the full story.
Crisis prompts more gov’t spending on children
Experts feared that the economic crisis would see a repeat of what followed the 1997 Asian financial crisis, where children paid a price by being forced to work as their parents lost jobs. Luckily, seven countries in the region have been pumping money to increase health and education spending in the wake of the latest financial crisis. Click to read the full story.
Q&A: ‘Children need to adjust to the economic crisis’
During the crisis, the kids have had to adjust and live with limited or no budget. Some got less money for buying food in school. Some of them can have money only for transportation, and need to prepare food to bring to school. Some might have to skip lunch. They also face difficulties when the school requests them to get additional educational material. Click for more.
CAMBODIA: Crisis forces more teenage girls into labour
“There are indications of an increase in women and girls entering the entertainment sector during the timeframe of the financial crisis,” says the study by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking. “These workers come from numerous provinces in Cambodia, most heavily from Kampong Cham, Kandal and Prey Veng.” Click to read the full story.
In the Philippines, children worst hit by hard times
Like many other countries in the world’s poor regions, the Philippines has not been immune to the impact of the global economic crisis. According to the National Statistics Office (NSO). Often the worst hit in any financial crunch are the poor, who comprise a big chunk of the country’s estimated population of 92 million. Click to read more.
PHILIPPINES: Belt-tightening by migrant workers unfelt at home
The global financial crisis may have dealt a severe blow to Filipino migrant workers, thousands of whom lost their jobs and fell into debt. But public schoolteacher Melinda Mendoza does not see this impact at all — at least not within the four walls of her classroom. Click to read the full story.
Younger prey in the world’s oldest trade
Amid a worsening economic situation, it appears more children are being lured into the flesh trade. Both Lawig Bubai and Talikala have observed a rise this year in the number of prostituted girls in Davao City. With or without data, they know the numbers have gone up significantly just by looking around the city. Click to read the full story.
‘Actually I don’t want to work here’
She recently started working at a well-known ‘entertainment’ bar that caters to mainly Western tourists in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. In October, she talked to IPS Asia-Pacific’s Robert Carmichael about how she is trying to make ends meet. Click to read the full story.
Global crisis bypassing Cambodia’s young – for now
Mey Chamnan has learned the hard way about the global economic crisis. Both she and her husband were fired from their 50 U.S.-dollar a month jobs in a local garment factory after declining overseas orders caused huge job losses across Cambodia’s garment industry. Click to read the full story.
CHINA: Too many graduates, very few jobs
Feng Danya studied foreign languages. She had hoped to be part of a growing local company and grow with them, she says. But her timing was wrong. She graduated in the summer of uncertainty for the global economy and many Chinese start-ups. Click to read the full story.
External links open in a new window and take you to a non-UNICEF web site.