Jeanne, a 14-year-old girl from a poor, rural town in Burundi, has seen a lifetime of hardship and deprivation. After her father abandoned the family, Jeanne was forced to become the main caregiver of her bedridden mother and two younger siblings.
Jeanne dreams of obtaining an education, but instead has to work long hours in order to provide food, shelter and medicine for her family. Without access to vital support services, she sees no way out of her situation.
There is hope for girls like Jeanne, but only if we take real steps to guarantee children around the world their basic human rights.
As world leaders prepare their positions for negotiation of the policy priorities for the next 15 years, please join SOS - USA in urging decision makers to keep children and youth at the core of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including those most vulnerable who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care.
Call on the UN today to ensure the world's children have access to quality medical care, education, and the opportunity to live and grow in a loving, supportive family environment!
Dear U.S. Ambassador Power:
At this critical moment, as world leaders formulate the Post-2015 Development Agenda for the next 15 years, we urge you to ensure that the needs and rights of all children and youth, including those most vulnerable and marginalized, stay at the core of this framework and that we leave no one behind.
While significant and laudable global progress has been made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, this initial framework largely left out one of the most vulnerable groups in society, children and youth without parental care. Nearly half (47%) of those living in extreme poverty around the world are under the age of 18, approximately 151 million have lost 1 or both parents, and many more are at risk of losing parental care. Living in poverty or without a loving, protective family environment to grow in, these children and youth are highly exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, stigmatization and social exclusion. Exposure to these risks significantly impacts their development and creates consequences that endure into adulthood. Development cannot be sustainable, nor sustained, if the needs of those in charge of implementing the agenda, the children of today, are not protected and empowered. It is therefore critical that the Post-2015 Development Agenda is utilized as a platform highlighting these human rights issues and prioritizing comprehensive action from the global community to uphold the right of all children and youth to quality care and protection.
Children and youth are our future. To sustainably eradicate poverty, as detailed below, we ask that you endorse and prioritize addressing their needs and protecting their rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
- All Member States must be encouraged to promote quality social protection systems that reach every child and family in need, offering the support and services necessary to overcome life’s challenges and thrive.
- All Member States must ensure children and youth - including those in and leaving alternative care arrangements - have access to and opportunities for quality primary, secondary and tertiary education and vocational training. By not only prioritizing access but also quality, we can equip children and youth with the tools necessary to grow, live healthy and prosperous lives, and ultimately, break the cycle of poverty.
- All Member States must prioritize creating and supporting decent work and livelihoods opportunities for all, including vulnerable and marginalized communities such as young people aging out of alternative care arrangements. These opportunities are critical for achieving a world in which children grow in stable and supportive family environments, care givers have the resources to provide for and protect their children, and all can live in dignity.
- All Member States must prioritize preventative measures and provide children and youth with protection against violence, abuse and neglect. The new framework should commit Member States to providing child protection systems for all, by strengthening, for example, systems to hold perpetrators of violence against children accountable. Additionally, the framework should commit Member States to making comprehensive care available and accessible to all child survivors. Every child deserves a life free from violence.
Finally, success of the Post-2015 framework will rely on effective data collection and monitoring to ensure impact for all children and youth, including those living without parental care. To ensure that this most vulnerable group is reached by international efforts to achieve these poverty eradication and development goals, indicators for children must be disaggregated by age and care situation, among other categories, when relevant.
Please endorse and commit to prioritizing the needs and rights of our future, the children and youth. Only when their needs are addressed and their rights protected can we successfully eradicate poverty and pursue equity.