“Do what it takes for as long as it takes to restore a broken life”: Supporting Hagar International, by Deirdre Dobson-Le

The Dunedin Study: Early Indicators of Future Physical Health, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

life-cycle-fy

Continuing  our series of articles on findings discovered by the “Dunedin Longitudinal Study”

“Why do some people develop phobias and cancers, while others lead a healthy existence?  Why do some children grow up to be successful entrepreneurs or Nobel Prize Winners, while others become drug addicts and down and outs?  Are these things settled at birth, or is it a result of our childhood experiences?  This question has fascinated philosophers and scientists for thousands of years.”  — Opening lines of “The Dunedin Longitudinal Study” TV Programme.

The Dunedin Study findings are that diabetes, heart disease and infant mortality are all greater in number among children raised in poverty.  Dental issues, infectious diseases and meningitis are also more prevalent among these children.  Children raised in poverty are 3-5 times more likely to be admitted to hospital than children who are not from poor backgrounds.

Follow up studies confirm Dunedin Study findings: the overall life expectancy of children growing up in poverty is lower.   For those raised in South Auckland, the lower socioeconomic region of Auckland City New Zealand, life expectancy was shown to be seven years less than that of children raised in any other part of Auckland.  A similar study in Bayview, the poorer area of San Francisco in the USA, showed that children raised there had a life expectancy eleven years lower than those living in other parts of the city.

http://abc7news.com/place/bayview-hunters-point/

Street in Bayview, San Francisco. Source: http://abc7news.com/place/bayview-hunters-point/

For many years it has been known that there is an obvious link between child poverty and higher levels of ill health.  Due to the precise nature of the information obtained and the 95% retention rate of participants, The “Dunedin Longitudinal Study” has shown this link even more clearly.  Not only do children in poverty suffer from health issues at a greater rate than their peers who do not live in poverty, but the ill health suffered by these children has lifelong effects.  This is true even for those who spent their early years in poverty but ceased, for whatever reason, to be poor in their adult years.

204290-alexander-pope-quote-as-the-twig-is-bent-so-grows-the-tree

Growing up in poverty has “lingering effects” on physical health, according to “Dunedin Study” findings.    This is a new and very radical finding.  Children growing up in poverty are subject to stresses which, over time, create inflammation in their blood, study findings show.  Blood tests showed that study members who grew up in poverty and/ or those who were abused or neglected as children had the highest levels of inflammation.  Chronic inflammation permanently “weakens” health, leaving these individuals much more susceptible to diseases related to this inflammation.  In effect this means childhood stress can set up a lifetime of poor health.  Even for those who grew up in poverty, but become wealthy in adulthood, the physical effects of growing up poor can’t be changed.

japanese-saying

The disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor is an increasing issue in developed countries.  The “Dunedin Longitudinal Study” has discovered then, that aside from effects such as economic disadvantage (including educational disadvantage) and a higher risk of becoming involved in criminal activity, long term physical health is compromised by poverty– whether or not the individual in question remains poor into adulthood.  Once again the importance of society investing in people’s early years is shown– we now have a scientific reason to invest in our children, it is more than just “a nice thing to do”.   Our childhood year are truly our “Forever Years”, emotionally and physically.

forever-years-icon

The Road Near Rio’s Olympic Village Where 9-year-old Girls are being Sold for Sex, by Candace Sutton

ro 4 A

Around a bend on one of Brazil’s longest highways, only a 50-minute drive from Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic village, girls as young as nine are selling their bodies to truck drivers for money.

Just a few miles from the glittering new stadiums where the world’s elite athletes are gathering to battle it out for Olympic gold is a shabby world of poverty, violence and child exploitation.

The BR-116 runs for 2800 miles between the World Cup stadium host city Fortaleza in the far north of Brazil to Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo, where the Arena de Corinthians will stage Olympic soccer games in the south.

The road is nicknamed the Highway of Death (Rodovia da Morte) for its mortality rate due to many accidents and unstable weather and conditions along the route.

But its real misery occurs at 262 truck stops along its way, where female children are sold for sex, often by their own families, sometimes as part of a town’s unofficial bartering system.

ro 1Two underage sex slaves near the football stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil before the 2014 World Cup soccer. Picture: BBC. Source:Supplied

As more than 10,000 athletes and spectators fly in from around the world for the $10 billion 2016 summer Olympics, local activists are drawing attention to the reality of the young girls drawn into a life of sex slavery and drug addiction.

At Meninadanca, an organization established to stop the exploitation of at-risk girls in towns along the BR-116, the real life stories are mind blowing.

When a Meninadanca team visited the remote town of Candido Sales, which is bisected by the BR-116, they discovered that underage girls in the town were regularly offered to men as prizes in raffles.

(Related: How To Spot (And Rescue A Sex Trafficking Victim)

Trucks and heavy goods vehicles clog the road lined with bars and brothels through the town, just miles away from the dirt brick homes where Brazilian families live in poverty.

ro 2Child prostitutes as young as 11 work in this slum which lines the fence of the 2016 Olympic football stadium in Sao Paulo. Picture: Jota Roxo. Source:Supplied

Sex trafficking gangs target the town and poor families are vulnerable to offers of money for their little girls.

But even the Meninadanca workers were surprised when a town council psychologist told them raffles were held regularly with the winning ticket holder’s prize being the right to abuse a particular girl being sold.

The psychologist Gleyce Farias said “Candido Sales is a small town, but every day we hear of another girl who has been sold.

“I had to stop a mother from allowing her 12-year-old daughter to ‘marry’ a 60-year-old man, for money of course.

“Another 13-year-old girl ended up in hospital because of the abuses she suffered. She told us how from the age of nine she was made to watch pornographic films, and men would pay her to touch them.”

ro 3By the age of 13, Lilian (above) had been sold to truck drivers by her mother for $4 a time. Picture: Matt Roper. Source:Supplied

 

ro 4Leidiane, 11, worked on the BR-116 highway but became addicted to crack and couldn’t be saved. Picture: Matt Roper. Source:Supplied

As the Rio Olympics are now underway, Meninadanca is attempting to lure the world media’s attention away from the excitement of the games to the confronting scenes beyond.

Matt Roper, a journalist and author, has held a walk of the BR-116 and Meninadanca’s Facebook page has an “adopt a kilometer” program on me for each section of the highway to raise money for the non-government organization.

As the final preparations are made on Rio’s 32 sporting venues, and last minute concerns centre on the Zika virus, Russia’s doping ban and pollution at the Guanabara Bay sailing ground, Meninadanca is tying pink ribbons along the highway.

Roper has helped establish ‘pink house’ refuges for girls rescued from the highway, although he admits many times it is too late.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://fightthenewdrug.org/the-road-near-rios-olympic-village-where-9-year-old-girls-are-being-sold-for-sex-photos/

Dunedin Study Findings: The Importance of Identifying Personality Types at a Young Age, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

16f7mbContinuing  our series of articles on findings discovered by the “Dunedin Longitudinal Study”…

The Dunedin Study identifies five major personality types.  These can be recognised in children as young as three years of age and do not change as we grow older: they are the personality types we are born with, they seem to be “in our blood”.

Pie 2

Most people fall into the groups classified as “Well Adjusted”, “Confident”,”Reserved” or some combination of these three: together these three groups cover 83% of the population.  “Well Adjusted” individuals tend to fit in with their surroundings, sometimes being “in the lime light”, but not having to all the time.  They tend to be able to “get along” with others, for the most part.  “Confident” individuals are the risk takers and “go getters”.  Like those described as “Well Adjusted” they don’t necessarily always have to be in the limelight, but they are thrill seekers and will “go out on a limb” to try a new idea.  An example used in the documantary about “The Dunedin Study” findings, “Why Am I?” was New Zealand’s A.J Hackett, founder of “Bungy Jumping”.

aj-hackett-parkdownload (1)Alan John “A. J.” Hackett is a New Zealand entrepreneur who popularised the extreme sport of bungy jumping. He made the famous bungy jump from the Eiffel Tower in 1987 and founded the first commercial bungy site in 1988. Wikipedia

Those classified as “Reserved” make up 15% of the general population. Reserved individuals tend to “hang back” and watch things for a bit first, before getting involved.  They are often a little shy and are more comfortable in smaller groups. These traits do not, however, prevent them living full and productive lives.

According to “The Dunedin Study” monitoring of 1037 people born in 1972-3, “Well Adjusted”, “Confident” and “Reseved” individuals, 83% of the population, usually go on to have “successful life outcomes”.  By their 40s they are usually happily married or in positive relationships, are persuing careers and/ or parenting well.  The remaining 17% consists of two personality types (again, identifiable in early childhood) which go on to adult lives which create immense angst and unhappiness–  both for themselves and for the rest of the community.

angry-teen-boy-350

Source: Google images.

People with a personality type described in “The Dunedin Study” as “Undercontrolled” are usually highly strung and don’t cope well with novelty or change.  These individuals are usually quick to anger and struggle with self control.  (Self control was discovered by “The Dunedin Study” to be one of the biggest indicators of a successful life outcome, a characteristic which was even more important than a high IQ).  Children identified as being in the “Undercontrolled” personality group at age three were more likely to go on become adults with diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease and lung problems.

Group Of Threatening Teenagers Hanging Out Together Outside Drinking

Source: Google images.

These same adults, despite disliking change or novelty, were described as “impulsive” and “sensation seekers”.  They were more likely to drink, take drugs and/ or have sex at an early age and to manifest other behaviour which takes a toll on physical and emotional well-being over time.  Children identified as being in this category at age three were highly likely to have been in serious trouble with the law by the time they were 23.

The other 7% of the population have personalities classified, according to “The Dunedin Study” as being “Inhibited”.  These individuals do not usually commit crimes or become violent.  They seem, instead, to “turn inward on themselves” and what may initially manifest as shyness or social awkwardness in a pre-school child becomes extreme self-consciousness to the point where, in many cases, teenagers manifest “school refusal” ( a refusal to go to school which differs from truancy, in that it is an anxious/ depressive reaction to school, rather than a rebellious act against going to school).  Teaching in High Schools in Japan for five years, I saw a number of examples of this, the Japanese call it Hikikomori.

Hikikomori (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり Hikikomori, literally “pulling inward, being confined”, i.e., “acute social withdrawal“,  is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement. The term hikikomori refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general and to the people belonging to this societal group. Hikikomori have been described as recluses, loners, or “modern-day hermits.”  [Source: Wikipedia].

An example of a young Japanese man living this kind of life is shown in “Why Am I?” People in this personality group have a difficult time attending school during the High School years and frequently struggle to leave home and establish a life for themselves in the adult world.  They tend to be fearful, anxious, highly strung, closed to change or novelty and prone to depression.  Whilst “hikikomori” is a Japanese term to describe teenagers or young adults who behave in this way, it is now a recognised problem in developed countries around the globe.

shy-teen-girl-200x300What is remarkable is that “The Dunedin Study” first identified these five personality types in pre-school children. These types appear to be set and have persisted in study participants, even becoming more pronounced, into adulthood.  This is, as the study says, one thing for those in the three “normal” groups, but what do we do if a child is identified as being in the “at risk” groups (“Undercontrolled” or “Inhibited”)?

download (2)What this study does establish are theoretically meaningful connections between 3-year-old children’s behavioral styles and their adult personalities. There is more to establishing this answer than satisfying intellectual curiosity. If early-emerging behavioral differences did not predict outcomes, behavioral scientists, parents, and teachers could safely ignore such individual differences. However, because such differences do shape the course of development, information about these individual differences can be harnessed to design parent-training programs and school-based interventions to improve children’s development. Ironically, although demonstrations of continuity are often viewed as deterministic and pessimistic, such findings provide the strongest support for the urgency of early intervention. [Source: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.576.9452&rep=rep1&type=pdf]

The most important thing to remember about “The Dunedin Study” and the reason we here at “The Forever Years” love it, is that it investigates nurture as well as nature and results show that nurture has an important part to play in whether those children with “Undercontrolled” or “Inhibited” personality types go on to have “positive life outcomes” or not.  Personality traits can overlap.   Nurture can “push” children from “functional” to “non-functional” personality types and vice versa. For example, a “Reserved” child who isn’t adequately socialised could become “Inhibited”.  An “Inhibited” child, with the right supports in place, can be “drawn out” to become “Reserved”.

Findings from “The Dunedin Study” show conclusively that for some individuals, multiple problems tend to aggregate.  A portion of children on the study who manifested the “Undercontrolled” or “Inhibited” personality types had these in combination with delays in significant areas such as speech and language acquisition and in taking their first steps.  For a portion of them (interestingly, these children were predominantly male) learning to read was also a great struggle.  This in turn led to a dislike of school, leaving school early and, following on from this, a high incidence of involvement in criminal activity.  “Something as innocent as delayed speech then, if not dealt with early, can gather force over the course of a lifetime,” says “The Dunedin Study” Associate Director,  Dr. Terrie Moffit.

Director Professor Richie Poulton says knowing now (because of study results) that some kids have a much higher chance, for example, of ending up in trouble with the law, can provide an opportunity to avert negative life outcomes by creating individually tailored intervention plans.   Such things as significant learning delays, poverty, childhood abuse or neglect, witnessing domestic violence, substances consumed by a child’s pregnant mother whilst he or she is still in the womb, an absence of attachment, structure, boundaries, positive encouragement or correct professional intervention for particular significant issues, invariably lead towards “negative life outcomes” when combined with particular personality types.

gun

Children who come into the world, then, with “Undercontrolled” or “Inhibited” personality types could be described as “guns loaded by Nature”.  But it is Nurture, meaning the presence or absence of certain positive or negative factors, that determines whether or not the “triggers” of these guns are pulled.  “Nurture” and “early positive intervention” are our hope.  The childhood years are indeed, when we look at the set personalities that we are born with, “The Forever Years”, as these personalities persist into adult life.  The outcomes don’t need to be negative, however, if “at risk” personality types are parented accordingly and if we teach our children “Self Control”, an all important trait which is learned, rather than fixed and which we will discuss in a separate article about “The Dunedin Longitudinal Study”.

forever-years-icon

An invitation to express our concern… 305, 000 kiwi kids now live in poverty, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Poverty1

Has anyone seen these postcards around recently?   They are available in various places including churches, schools, libraries and charity-supporting organisations.  Basically the idea is that you write how you feel about recent statistics from the “NZ Child Poverty Monitor” on child poverty here in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  The postcards can then be sent (Freepost) to the poverty monitor, to gauge how we kiwis feel about the situation 29% of our tamariki are currently living in.  You can also download a PDF of them (and then write your comment) by going to :

http://www.childpoverty.co.nz/

The stats are sobering.  As mentioned above, 29% of New Zealand children currently live in situations which are officially classified as “poverty”… that’s 305,000 kiwi kids and just under one third of all kiwi kids.  Back in 1984 only 15% of tamariki were classified as being in this situation… just under half of the current number.  Some more statistics are below…

Poverty Collage

By expressing our opinions via these postcards, we can help give a voice to our most vulnerable children here in Aotearoa.  All too often we express our outrage upon hearing statistics such as these, even voicing them to others, before going back to our own lives and forgetting them. Flooding the “Child Poverty Monitor” with these postcards shows that we, the people of New Zealand, are concerned about this very important issue and it will also help keep Child Poverty in the spotlight.

I don’t believe in hiding the reality of Child Poverty in New Zealand (or anywhere else for that matter) from our children.  It doesn’t need to be pushed into their faces daily, but it is something which is having a major impact on their generation and will shape the society in which they will be adults– and not in a positive way.  From time to time my husband or I talk to  our four kids about  this and other issues shaping their world.  With regards to the postcards,  I felt it was actually quite important that our children do their own and express their views about this issue.   I would really encourage other parents to get their kids to do this– even pre-schoolers can understand the concept of poverty, if it is explained to them in an age appropriate way, and parents can write their children’s responses onto the post cards themselves if their children are too young to express themselves clearly in writing.  Pictures can “paint a thousand words” as they say too, the response could be a drawing.

Personally, I found it an interesting exercise, getting our kids to stop, think and then respond to this issue.  Of course, there is also the benefit of encouraging empathy and altruism in our children.  Anyway, I will paste our four  kids’ responses below:

Pov 2

Son age 10

Son age 8

Son age 8

Son age 6

Son age 6

Pov 1

Daughter age 5

My response…

Pov 5

Just to clarify, where I have written “regardless of the parents’ actions”, I am meaning that children in poverty should not be judged by why their parents are living in poverty. From time to time when I speak with people about child poverty here in Aotearoa, I hear responses such as, “well, what can you expect, the parents are on drugs/ on booze/ are ‘no hopers’/ caused their own poverty/ are lazy…”.  I love the line “it’s not choice”, as it epitomises what we here at “The Forever Years” use as our guiding statement… “through the eyes of a child”.  Regardless of how a child’s family has ended up in a situation of poverty (and there are so many different cases, we cannot use blanket, judgmental statements such as those above to describe them all), the results for the child are the same… a lack of basics needed for them to thrive and consequently, less opportunity.  Surely all children, here and around the world, are entitled to an equal “starting line”.  We have the resources in both our national and global communities to make this possible– if we put it as a priority and draw awareness to it, awareness by governments and by ordinary citizens.

Have your say, New Zealand about poverty here in Aotearoa and help your children to have theirs as well… it will affect them far more than us.

forever-years-icon

 

 

 

The Ripple Effects of Kindness to Kids, A Wonderful Story!

12313752_932391220130525_8675096333460310385_n

The incredible story of Hilde Back and Chris Mburu shows how even small acts of kindness can touch many lives in ways entirely unforeseen. When she was a girl, a stranger’s kindness saved Hilde Back’s life by helping her to escape to Sweden from Nazi Germany where both her parents died in concentration camps. Back eventually became a teacher and, remembering her days as a Jewish girl in Germany when she was denied the opportunity to attend school under the Nazi Nuremburg Laws, she decided to pay for the education of a child who would otherwise not have a chance to go to school. The child she sponsored was Chris Mburu.

Mburu grew up in a poor family in rural Kenya whose family could not afford to pay the small tuition fee required for children to continue their studies beyond elementary school. Due to his excellent grades, he was selected for participation in a Swedish sponsorship program and Hilde Back paid his way through secondary school. Mburu excelled in school and went on to earn degrees from the University of Nairobi and Harvard Law School.

In order to help other talented children from poor families continue their studies at secondary school, Mburu created a foundation in 2001. With the support of the Swedish Ambassador in Kenya, Mburu was able to track down the benefactor who had transformed his life and named the foundation in her honor: The Hilde Back Education Fund.

(To read more, including great links to documentaries etc related to this story, follow the link below…)

https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl/posts/932391220130525:0

Operation Christmas Child: interview with Dunedin Representative Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

4-H_feature_image

Today Kirsteen McLay-Knopp, one of our editors here at “The Forever Years” was interviewed by our local TV channel about “Operation Christmas Child”, the project organised by Samaratin’s Purse, which provides shoe boxes containing gifts to children in some of our world’s poorest areas.  See the interview below and follow the links at the bottom to read more articles about “Operation Christmas Child” on “The Forever Years”.

More about “Operation Christmas Child”:

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/a-high-tea-party-n-support-of-operation-christmas-child-by-errin-hamlyn/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/our-operation-christmas-child-packing-night-by-kirsteen-mclay-knopp/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/an-interview-about-operation-christmas-child/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/242/

The “Operation Christmas Child” Website:

www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child

Our Operation Christmas Child Packing Night, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

 

Facebook photo FY

Last Saturday night we joined with three other families and hosted an Operation Christmas Child Packing Evening (and potluck dinner).  I was so pleased with how the evening went that I wanted to share some thoughts on it, which may be helpful if you want to do your own “packing party”.

For those of you who haven’t heard of “Operation Christmas Child”, it is a project of the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse.  Basically, you fill a shoe box with items for a child in a developing country, children in some of our planet’s poorest areas who have nothing.  Although a Christian charity, Operation Christmas Child distributes the shoe boxes regardless of the religion or background of the children receiving them, and after careful consultation with village leaders in the receiving communities.  The items included are usually essentials, such as toothbrushes, soap and facecloths, pens, pencils and notebooks, as well as something to wear, such as a t-shirt or cap and something to play with (a ball, a soft toy).  Over the three years since I’ve been involved with Operation Christmas Child I’ve seen a lot of wonderful, creative ideas for things to put in the shoe boxes.  Items which are not allowed include: war toys (for some of these children war and weapons are an all too real part of daily life), religious or political material, food of any kind and anything which might break, melt or leak and potentially destroy the contents of the box (things such as play dough, bubble mix, toothpaste and shampoo are, therefore, not allowed).

Among the three families, we had 14 children packing the boxes, ranging from 10 years old down to a 9 month old baby.  We had 6 adults present to oversee it all.  We had asked each family to bring an item to pack (for example, one family brought soap, one brought facecloths, we provided notebooks and pens…).  Prior to packing, we ate dinner and watched two video clips about children receiving Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes: a girl in Papua New Ginea and two boys, brothers, in Vietnam.  After that we started packing.

I was so proud of all the kids and so impressed by how they all just “got on with the job”.  Here and there, there were children admiring the things we were putting in the shoe boxes and the odd cry of “can I keep this?”, but in general the spirit of giving took over.  It was interesting to observe, too, that some of our boys packed boxes for girl recipients, as well as for boys, and some of our girls packed “boy boxes”, as well as girl ones.  The kids also didn’t just stick to packing boxes for those their own age.  There are three age groups to choose from when packing an Operation Christmas Child shoe box: 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14.  My 6 year old proudly told me that he was going to pack one for an older kid “because there might not be so many boxes for older kids and they might feel sad.”

Before we knew it, we had 26 boxes filled with gifts!  That’s a classroom worth of children who wouldn’t otherwise have received one without us.

Operation Christmas Child is a great way to encourage our children to become “global citizens”, and think about important world issues which affect children, such as poverty.  It is also a great way for our kids to become involved in giving for the sake of giving, without expecting anything in return.  So find out about Operation Christmas Child in your area (you can Google Operation Christmas Child, followed by your country), have fun packing and knowing that you are sending out a box of hope and joy to a child.

Packing FY

Related Links:

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/242/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/an-interview-about-operation-christmas-child/

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

300,000+ Kiwi kids now in relative poverty, by Simon Collins

Poverty-thinkstock_480x270

The number of Kiwi children in relative poverty has jumped over 300,000 for the first time since 2010 – but it’s because of record inequality, despite falling absolute hardship.

The Ministry of Social Development’s annual household incomes report shows that the numbers below a European standard measure of absolute hardship, based on measures such as not having a warm home or two pairs of shoes, fell from 165,000 in 2013 to 145,000 (8 per cent of all children) last year, the lowest number since 2007.

Children in benefit-dependent families also dwindled from a recent peak of 235,000 (22 per cent) in 2011, and 202,000 (19 per cent) in 2013, to just 180,000 (17 per cent) last year – the lowest proportion of children living on benefits since the late 1980s.

But inequality worsened because average incomes for working families increased much faster at high and middle-income levels than for lower-paid workers.

The net result was that the number of children living in households earning below 60 per cent of the median income after housing costs jumped from a five-year low of 260,000 in 2013 to 305,000 last year, the highest since a peak of 315,000 at the worst point of the global financial crisis in 2010.

In percentage terms, 29 per cent of Kiwi children are now in relative poverty, up from 24 per cent in 2013 and only a fraction below the 2010 peak of 30 per cent.

Unicef national advocacy manager Deborah Morris-Travers said the increase showed that the Government’s reliance on economic growth as the way out of poverty “does nothing for those on benefits and on very low fixed incomes”.

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11496779

 

When You Realize That You Are Living Life in a Bubble, by Sarah Wilson

Read about how Hagar International transforms the lives of children rescued from trafficking.

live-in-bubble

Like me, do you ever feel as if you live life in a bubble? Living in a bubble is perhaps defined as living safely in the confines of our comfort zone, with all the trappings of modern affluence. Recently I’ve wondered why is it that when bloggers blog about issues of poverty, trafficking or injustice, there is little interest. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it is because we are often overwhelmed with our own lives, and it’s simply too much to hear of the atrocities that are going on in the world. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we care too deeply and we simply can’t cope with the realities of the world’s brokenness.

But I’ve been challenged recently about living life in a bubble. And ignoring the snow forecasts, last night I ventured out into the cold, to hear an inspiring speaker. Sue is a…

View original post 832 more words