Tag Archives | Poverty

Homelessness: The Game

Homeless The Game

Zachary Sniderman writes on Mashabe.com:

It’s one thing to feel bad for homeless people; it’s another to be forced into their shoes. Advertising agency McKinney has teamed up with Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD), a non-profit based in North Carolina, to create SPENT, an online game that guides users through what it feels like to be homeless.

Here’s how it works: If you accept the challenge to play, you enter a simple point-and-click game, navigating multiple choice questions about your livelihood. The site says you have been stripped of your savings and are currently unemployed, asking, “Can you make it through the month?”

You’re given simple choices with varying consequences. Do you want to try working in a restaurant? A factory? If you live far from the city your rent will be cheap, but, as you’re informed through pop-ups, you’ll have to pay more for gas or transportation.

The game’s integration with Facebook is its best feature.

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82% Of Public Schools Expected To ‘Fail’ This Year

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Is it that the schools will ‘fail’ the “No Child Left Behind” program or the program itself is a ‘fail’ for schools? The Raw Story reports:

In testimony to Congress Wednesday, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a startling claim: This year, up to 82 percent of public schools could “fail” the government’s “No Child Left Behind” standards.

“No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the Department of Education.

“This law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed,” Duncan added. “We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”

Last year, just 32 percent of schools were failing the government’s rigorous testing standards.

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Haitians Mark One Year Anniversary Of Earthquake

11aahaiti

The Haitian National Palace after the earthquake on January 12, 2010

A year after tragedy hit Haiti, survivors are marking the anniversary of the devastating earthquake. A year later and hundreds of thousands of people are living in shelters, communities are slowly being rebuilt and there is a constant battle against cholera. BBC News reports:

Haitians are preparing to mark the anniversary of the earthquake that devastated their country and left some 250,000 of their fellow citizens dead.

Church services are due to be held around the nation, including at the ruined cathedral in Port-au-Prince.

There will also be a minute’s silence at 4.53pm (2153 GMT) – the exact moment when the 7.0 magnitude quake hit.

Traffic stopped as the streets of Port-au-Prince turned quiet and businesses were closed.

People walked in solemn processions to prayer services marking the anniversary of the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. Many people wore white, a colour associated with mourning in Haiti, and sang hymns as they made their way to the services.

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Two-Thirds of the West African Nation of Benin is Underwater

BeninVia BBC News:
The UN refugee agency is to start an emergency airlift of tents to the West African nation of Benin this week, amid the worst flooding there in decades. Some 3,000 tents will be flown in from Denmark to provide shelter for some of the estimated 680,000 people affected. Two-thirds of Benin has suffered from months of heavy rain, and about 800 cases of cholera have been reported. It is the worst flooding to hit the country — one of the poorest in the world — since 1963. Areas previously thought not to be vulnerable to flooding have been devastated and villages wiped out.
"There are huge areas that are covered in water so people are living on the tops of their houses, because people try to stay near their homes," Helen Kawkins of the Care aid agency told the BBC.
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Poverty Affects the Mental Health of Children

A 2006 report from ScienceDaily, still relevant today:

Children in low-income families start off with higher levels of antisocial behaviour than children from more advantaged households. And if the home remains poor as the children grow up, antisocial behaviour becomes much worse over time compared to children living in households that are never poor or later move out of poverty, says new University of Alberta research.

“In other words, the lowest levels of antisocial behaviour are found in kids whose parents start and stay in the highest income bracket while their kids grow up,” says Dr. Lisa Strohschein, author of the study and sociologist at the U of A.

While the findings show that the effects of low income at an early age on antisocial behaviour–conduct such as bullying, being cruel, breaking things, cheating or telling lies–persist as kids get older, depression seems to have the opposite effect. The effects of starting off in a low-income household on child depression lessen as time goes on, regardless of later income levels.

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20% Of Children In United States Living In Poverty

Shocking, ain’t it? And it’s the official number from the U.S. Census Bureau, so probably the real number is higher. From the New York Times:

Forty-four million people in the United States, or one in seven residents, lived in poverty in 2009, an increase of 4 million from the year before, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.

The poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent — the highest level since 1994 — from 13.2 percent in 2008. The rise was steepest for children, with one in five residents under 18 living below the official poverty line, the bureau said.

Poverty Rates by Age

The report provides the most detailed picture yet of the impact of the recession and unemployment on incomes, especially at the bottom of the scale. It also suggested that the temporary increases in benefits in aid provided in last year’s stimulus bill eased the burdens on millions of families.

For a single adult in 2009, the poverty line was $10,830 in pretax cash income; for a family of four, $22,050.

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor

These figures are estimates, but when the actual data is released this week, hopefully it’s not worse. Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti write on the Huffington Post:
Down & Out in NYC

WASHINGTON — The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat’s presidency – are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.

It’s unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

“The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said Friday at a White House news conference.

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Hedge Funds Accused of Gambling with Lives of the Poorest as Food Prices Soar

Hunger Casino

Image: World Development Movement (WDM)

Katie Allen writes in the Guardian:

Financial speculators have come under renewed fire from anti-poverty campaigners for their bets on food prices, blamed for raising the costs of goods such as coffee and chocolate and threatening the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries.

The World Development Movement (WDM) will issue a damning report on the growing role of hedge funds and banks in the commodities markets in recent years, during which time cocoa prices have more than doubled, energy prices have soared and coffee has fluctuated dramatically.

The charity’s demands for the British financial watchdog to follow the US in cracking down on such speculation comes against a backdrop of cocoa prices jumping to a 33-year high as it emerged that a London hedge fund had snapped up a large part of the world’s stock of beans. On Friday, traders say, Armajaro took delivery of 240,100 tonnes of cocoa — the biggest from London’s Liffe exchange in 14 years and equal to about 7% of annual global production, according to the Financial Times.

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Niger’s Silent Crisis

Source: Vardion (CC)

Source: Vardion (CC)

From the BBC:

Britain’s aid agencies are launching an appeal to help the people of Niger where half the country’s population is going hungry following droughts which have led to crop failures and food shortages.

A listless little boy with stick thin arms and legs is weighed at an emergency treatment clinic for under fives near Maradi in Southern Niger.

Abiou, who is just 13 months old, weighs less than four-and-a-half kilos. His half-closed eyes stare out from sunken sockets set in a head that now looks too big for him.

Doctor Mourou Arouna Djimba says he is now being overwhelmed by youngsters like Abiou. “There’s a massive need here,” he told me.

“We’ve so little room that sometimes we need to put two or even three children in one bed. We’ve got 30 in this intensive ward, and this morning another five more severely malnourished children arrived.”

Save the Children says 400,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation

In the face of the crisis, the charities Save the Children (STC) and Oxfam are each launching multi-million pound appeals for drought-ravaged Niger.

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