This week I choose Kenya as a place to discover. While I have never been to Kenya, I often think that I would love to do missionary work someday, and I know that some of the outreach in my church is in Kenya.
As I was exploring the UNICEF site to understand what life is like for a child in Kenya, first, I found out that there is a high rate of infant mortality, this is due to lack of a health system, extreme poverty, AIDS and malaria. As many as 96 children may die any given day in Kenya. This is so sad. Many children are also become orphans because their parent die from HIV/AIDS. Many children live in orphanages, live in the streets, or even become the heads of their own households at an early age to take care of younger siblings.
UNICEF is working hard to ensure that all children’s rights are protected.
As I was reading the information about Kenya what hurt my heart is the unfortunate conditions that these children are living in. And that many children in our own country could be facing some of these hardships as well. I find it hard to think of children not having access to things like health care, school, and even clean water and food to drink. I can only imagine the stress that this would have on a child’s emotional wellbeing or their development.
I feel that children living in these harsh conditions would feel that they are in constant stress. Along with the fact that many do not have the nutrition that they need, their physical development may not be like a typical child. Many issues like; stress, lack of health care, lack of food, disease, and poverty, would all contribute to negative growth and development. I also believe that these children would have compromised social/emotional development, and would perhaps live in a state of flight or fight for most of their life’s.
So, what does this mean for me as a professional? I feel that what I have learned is the issues that are effecting the children in other parts of the world are also effecting children in our own backyard. We need to remember that there are many influences that can either support or have negative consequences for children and their overall wellbeing. We need to think about every aspect of a child’s life to understand what influences are present, so we can help them where they are at. I also feel that I have learned that we need to remember to advocate for all children, not just the ones in our own care.