Sometimes, nothing makes a point as well as a picture…
An infographic compiled by a website for healthcare administrators and those looking for research about the medical field titled “The Kid’s Aren’t Alright” combined data from World Bank, UNICEF and International Living to subjectively rank countries on the quality of life they offer children, based on per-capita GDP, infant mortality, safety and more.
When you choose a variable in the infographic, such as the percentage of children vaccinated against polio or enrolled in primary schools, watch the map transform into a color-coded index illustrating which regions perform the best and worst in that area. Countries colored red scored the worst, while countries colored seafoam green excel. There are six color-ratings possible, following a rainbow spectrum.
Naturally, at Holt, we zoomed in on the countries where we work. We noticed some immediate trends — many of which directly relate to the work we do overseas combating child abandonment, poverty and family instability.
Below, we break down how the infographic rates in countries where we work, and what we are doing to battle some of the issues most prevalent in the region.
Check out the infographic here.
Poverty and Civil Liberties
Many of the countries where we work — Ethiopia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Haiti and Uganda — scored in the bottom tiers for the level of freedom, political rights and civil liberties, which are key to democracy, religious freedom and economic equality. Similarly, of the 11 countries where Holt works, five — Ethiopia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Haiti and Uganda — ranked in the bottom two tiers for per-capita GDP, which is often used to measure a country’s standard of living.
In Vietnam, where the infographic shows the per-capita GDP at only $1,300, families often lack the resources and educational opportunities to find or improve their money-making capabilities. That’s why our efforts in Vietnam focus on fighting poverty in simple, cost-effective ways. In Vietnam, we often provide vulnerable families with cows, goats, chickens or pigs as a source of income. Families are able to use the milk or eggs for a nutritional supplement to their diet, and when the animals reproduce, the chicks, calves or piglets can be sold for profit. Similarly, we help stabilize families by providing vocational training and income-generating projects such as raising animals, growing and selling produce, or opening a shop.
Infant Mortality and Maternal and Child Health
Four of the countries where we work scored in the bottom two tiers for infant mortality, demonstrating the need for better access to maternal and child healthcare. Of the countries where Holt works, the infant mortality rate is the highest in Ethiopia, where roughly 60 out of every 1,000 children die before they reach their first birthday.
To combat this statistic, three years ago, Holt allied with community leaders in Shinshicho, Ethiopia — an isolated region scarred by civil war, famine and illness where thousands of women and children die every year in childbirth or from other preventable causes due to lack of access to medical care. Together, we revamped the only clinic in the area, and made plans to build a 40,000-square foot maternal and child hospital, equipped with surgical units, X-ray labs and more than 100 doctors trained in advanced care. The hospital is nearly complete, and by 2015 more than 250,000 people in and around Shinshicho will have access to advanced medical care for the first time — hopefully turning the infant mortality rate in the region on its head.
Similarly, in India, Holt’s partner agencies have through the years helped combat infant mortality among orphaned and abandoned children by implementing Holt’s model of attentive, affectionate foster care — a safer and more nurturing environment to institutionalized care. In the year it was implemented, our partners cut infant mortality to zero among orphaned or abandoned children in our care. In India, Holt also helps to provide family health clinics, which provide immunizations and basic healthcare to children and families. As the infographic shows, India has one of the highest rates of children not covered by the polio vaccine — more than 30 percent. As everywhere, access to affordable health care and education is vital to the health of children and families in India.
Five of the countries where we work — Ethiopia, Vietnam, India, Haiti and Uganda — scored poorly on the level or safety or amount of leisure. The rate of “Fun and Culture” in each country was calculated partially based on the literacy rates and quality of education offered. The level of “Safety” in each country was based on U.S. State Department statistics regarding hardship differentials, which are based on extraordinarily difficult, notably unhealthy, or dangerous living conditions. Ethiopia, Haiti and Uganda scored poorly in both categories.
Of course, to Holt, educational opportunities are not considered something of leisure. We believe education is cornerstone to the over-all health and empowerment of a child, and we work to keep children in school for as long as possible. When girls are educated, they have the unique capacity to create sweeping social and economic changes in their communities — for generations to come.
For children in India, we offer many programs to promote education for young girls, and we even include scholarships for girls’ education in India as one of our critical Gifts of Hope items. In India, many Holt sponsors help cover the cost of school fees and supplies for children at high risk of dropping out — most of them girls who would likely otherwise work as domestic servants. In Vietnam, we emphasize the importance of early education by offering daycare to children from low-income families.
And, in China, where less than 50 percent of girls are enrolled in primary school according to the infographic, we offer educational sponsorship programs that help girls (and boys) stay in school throughout their entire primary education — especially those whose parents and grandparents were effected by the 1990s HIV epidemic.
Holt programs also help to improve the safety of children’s homes, schools and communities. In 2011, Holt and a group of athletes from Oregon State University travelled to Ethiopia to build homes for a few vulnerable families in the region and a year later we helped fund the first school for deaf students in the region — an area where the rate of deafness is abnormally high and disabilities are highly stigmatized.
At Holt, we are constantly growing and adapting our programming to better meet the changing needs of vulnerable children and families overseas in hopes that someday, in the countries where we work, children will thrive rather than simply survive. We pray, and ask you to pray, that children will grow up in the safety and security of a loving, stable family.