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Educate future citizens and leaders

Spiros Tzelepis, Greece

A good step in order to help children in the developing world is to provide education

Before speaking about what NGOs can do in order to help the children who face numerous problems in today's world, I want to say that living in a country where at least children do not suffer from violent threats, I am not familiar with what kind of measures should be taken in order to help conflict victims. Besides, I feel that the most appropriate people to speak about that are the children who have experienced such situations and know exactly what kind of help they want.

However, in an attempt to approach the issue and referring to my country, Greece, I can tell that the most prevalent problem of children is of course sexual exploitation and then comes the problems faced by immigrants who cannot integrate into the society and sometimes turn to crime.

Sexual exploitation exists and the victims are usually children from Eastern Europe and other countries. To deal with this problem effectively, NGOs should press the government to vote strict laws on such issues and besides this, they must first of all help to change the attitude of the society towards the problem. Such issues are usually "neglected" in all societies and people tend not to speak about them while they all know what is happening. The NGOs can act to change this and make the citizens aware of the consequences. So, if there is no demand, there won't be offer and the problem will be solved.

As far as children from other countries are concerned, the NGOs can help them to adjust by teaching them the language and by making them to feel parts of our society. It is common sense that school is not enough since it is natural that such children won't be able to coexist with Greek children if they don't know the language. Therefore, the NGOs should provide opportunities for them to integrate in the social life and also help them financially so as to make them able to continue their education after the 9 mandatory years.

Now, referring globally, it is widely known that children suffer either as conflict victims or as child soldiers. They also suffer because of poverty that sometimes makes them easy prey to ideologies which promote violence. It is clear that the problems faced cannot be solved easily. However, a good step in order to help children in the developing world is to provide education. Education is the key element for these people; this will help them to break the circle of poverty, bridge the digital divide and develop their countries. Only education will help them to live in prosperous and peaceful societies. Consequently, NGOs working in such countries should emphasize in providing free education for the children.

Of course, they can help to cover immediate needs like food, clothes, medicines and they can provide care for conflict victims and support to children engaged in battlefields. But, all these are only short term solutions. The real solution for these countries is to educate their future citizens and leaders. Only then can they hope for a better future which they deserve.

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Reconstruction: July-August-September 2002

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