The silent killer that we don’t talk about. He operates stealthily, among the old, among the young. A lone wolf but his reach extends to every corner of the globe, especially in the countries in the shadows. His presence is masked by corruption and greed, some people don’t even know that the blood of his kills are on their hands. Lethal, deadly and feared, you wouldn’t want to meet him, so why do you allow others to face him? Truth is, this silent killer holds no weapons, we all learned about him, through textbooks and news yet we still let him roam around freely. Who, then, is this silent killer? It is no other than poverty, something that many of us are lucky to escape from.
Poverty, the silent killer that people shun away from talking about. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day from poverty. Doesn’t seem like a lot? Well then, picture the current COVID-19 death toll of 1 million taking not nine months but a mere 45 days to achieve and let’s not forget, the death rate continues.
I want you to think: How much do you spend on food every day? Let’s say a nice lunch with your friends, it would easily surpass $15. Maybe for dinner you’re craving a McSpicy meal, around $8. Now I want you to think, if I gave you only $1.90 a day, how are you going to spend it? Where I’m from, this is the price of one sugar donut from BreadTalk, definitely not a go-to choice for staying full the whole day. I think that whatever you choose to spend it on, we can all agree that $1.90 is really not a lot, and it’s an understatement because this is actually the international poverty line. What’s even more shocking? The fact that more than 689 million people are living below it. It’s no wonder that some may turn to eating dirt, literally.
Would you ever eat soil? I remembered when I was a child, I came across a documentary showing a woman scooping wet mud from the ground, shaping them into flat circles before leaving them out under the sun to dry and selling them as food. Being naïve, I wondered why they would eat dirt, does it taste good? For those of you who are thinking the same thing, let me enlighten you: The taste of mud cookies is described as a smooth consistency that immediately dries the mouth with an unpleasant aftertaste of dirt that lingers for hours. Eating it may also pose a health risk as the clay may contain toxins and parasites. However, it is consumed in Haiti during times of starvation AND eating it has become a normal practice for them. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that poverty can really drive a person to do the unthinkable. I want you to know how people are suffering silently due to poverty. Lack of proper food, lack of access to clean water, lack of access to education...I could go on but it is clear that poverty leads to a lack of access to a future, not just for an individual, but a group, a community, and it can even plague a whole country.
With such a scary silent killer under our watch, is there a way we can stop him? According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, the world's richest 1 percent, those with more than $1 million, own 44 percent of the world's wealth. This is in stark contrast to the fact that the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for just 5 percent of global income. These may seem like just facts and figures but it reveals that we have everything we need to stop poverty. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of poverty, and all forms of human life.” We have all our resources, all the cards laid on the table, the ball in now in our court to choose if we want to do our part by donating and helping the poor and stop this silent killer from blocking our access to a better future for all.