NO INTRO TEXT A global interfaith initiative to end child poverty has been launched at the Fourth Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) held from 16th to 18th June 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with the theme: Ending Poverty, Enriching Children: Inspire. Act. Change.
The initiative, entitled “Mobilizing Faith-Based Resources to End Child Poverty,” encompassing contributions from various partners will challenge corruption and poor governance, war and violence, and unequal distribution of resources and will utilize interfaith advocacy and grassroots action to overcome poverty by bringing together children and young people, religious leaders and faith communities, civil society organizations, United Nations agencies, the African Union and other multi-lateral institutions, educators, governments, development banks, businesses and the media to build a world where no child will live in poverty.
Over 400 participants from 64 different countries around the world attended the Fourth Forum, including about 50 children and young people, senior religious leaders from all of the world’s religious traditions, UN officials and leaders from various multilateral institutions and development agencies. A diverse group of distinguished guests and eminent supporters including President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania were also present.
Driven by the urgent ethical imperative to commit to a vision that no one, especially children, should live under conditions imposed by poverty—the worst and most extensive form of violence in the world, the long-term Global Poverty Initiative was presented to children on the historic last day of the forum and will go beyond the 2015 target year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – seeking to help end poverty by addressing economic injustices; not only the systemic structures but also the roots of the problem in the human heart—greed, ignorance, hatred and fear.
This is the first time in the history of the GNRC, that the Forum was held in Africa, the first one having been held in Tokyo Japan, in the year 2000, the second one in Geneva Switzeland in 2004 and the third forum in Hiroshima, Japan in 2008. 16th June is also the anniversary of the 1976 Shapeville Massacre celebrated in honor of the hundreds of courageous children who, armed with nothing but their fragile bodies, were ruthlessly gunned down by the Apartheid Regime of South Africa for demanding better education and livelihoods, for speaking out against imposed poverty. This year’s day of the African Child is dedicated to children with disabilities.
During the opening ceremony, all children participants presented their inspiring stories of poverty while at the same time emotionally pleading with government and religious leaders present to act urgently in order to end poverty, that they boldly said, affects millions of their fellow children.
GNRC is the only global-scale interfaith network of organizations and individuals specifically dedicated to securing the rights and well-being of children. Its members are Buddhists, Bahais, Christians, Hindus, Indigenous Traditions, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists and others, and all share a commitment to making the world a place where every child can enjoy not only the right to survive, but also to thrive, making positive contributions of his or her own to a world of peace and dignity for all.