Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tears over the television

In the last 24 hours I have wept whilst watching the television, not some soppy girly thing (as is quite normal), but at two documentarys.
The first I watched last night and was a fascinating documentary called "Our War ~ Ten years in Afganistan" which was filmed by soldiers in Afganistan and showed "The story of a group of friends from 3 Platoon, 1 Royal Anglian, who were sent to Helmand province in 2007 and filmed on a helmet camera by the platoon's sergeant."
Arriving in Afganistan, how they learn the hardships and reality of war on the frontline.  It was graffic, how could it be any other way?  These were lads, young men facing the reality of war and featured the death of one of them at the hands of the Taliban.  The medivac and the stunning news that the lad had died.  It also featured the families reaction and how they have been coming to terms with their young sons death.  There are to be more episodes in the coming weeks.
The second to make me weep was this morning when I caught up with the BBC documentary "Poor Kids" it was a shocking insight into the lives and hardships of the children in Britain who live below the poverty line, it's told by the children themselves who give you a look into their lives.  The horrors of their living conditions and situations they find themselves in.  Children for whom a meal is precious.  I wish they would show this in schools so that the many children and adults who moan about their lot in life would realise just  how lucky they are.
The programme was littered with shocking statistics.

  • 3.5 million children live below the poverty line and this is set to rise by 11% under the current gov't policies in the next year.
  • credit charges and higher fuel cost(for key meters) costs poor families £1280 a year more
  • 85% of children living in damp houses and flats suffer from breathing problems
  • Poverty shortens lives. A boy in Manchester can expect to live seven years less than a boy in Barnet. A girl in Manchester can expect to live six years less than a girl in Kensington Chelsea and Westminster.
  • Poor children are born too small; birth weight is on average 130 grams lower in children from social classes IV and V. Low birth weight is closely associated with infant death and chronic diseases in later life.
  • Poverty shapes children's development. Before reaching his or her second birthday, a child from a poorer family is already more likely to show a lower level of attainment than a child from a better-off family. By the age of six a less able child from a rich family is likely to have overtaken an able child born into a poor family.
  • Children aged up to 14 from unskilled families are 5 times more likely to die in an accident than children from professional families, and 15 times more likely to die in a fire at home.
  • Children growing up in poverty are more likely to leave school at 16 with fewer qualifications.
  • 2% of couples and 8% of lone parents cannot afford two pairs of shoes for each child.
  • 12% of lone parents cannot afford celebrations with presents at special occasions. Mark Family and Children Study, 2004
The children on this film were so matter of fact and accepting about their situations.  How as adults can we turn our backs on them? 
The current rises in fuel charges, stopping of EMA, rise in cost of travel to school are just some of the things that are going to take more and more children to live in the housing situations and poverty shown in the programme and my heart breaks for them.
Please watch this programme and have your eyes opened to what we are allowing to happen to children in this country.


Beth in NC said...

I would have been crying too. Sometimes situations like this just feel overwhelming.

Carol said...

It is heartbreaking and there is so much of it that my effort is like a grain of sand in the desert.
I recently bought a small boy a football kit so he could go and train with his school friends as his Mum couldn't manage it.

Crystal Velvet said...

Carol that's a lovely thing to have done. I bet he treasures it greatly.

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