“The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds — where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough — a modest living— and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.”
Walt Whitman, American poet (1819-1892)
One of the largest global issues currently faced by many developing countries and increasing in developed countries is inequality. In the latest reports from The World Bank the Gini index, an economic measure which shows the distribution of income among individuals or households, shows that countries such as the US, Norway, South Africa, Cyprus and Colombia have increased their levels of inequality. Current data from the OECD Organization shows that the OECD countries are at its highest level of inequality. 2012 data shows that 10 % of the world’s population (“the rich”) control half of the wealth, compared to 40 % (“the poor”) controlling only 3%. Economic crisis and different external factors have contributed considerably and have helped in making the inequality gap bigger and bigger.
Inequality immediately affects the poorest population of society as well as the economy in a long term scale. When inequality gaps get wider, the possibilities for the poorest to have access to basic human necessities such as a proper education, health system and care as well as a possible position in labor market become more difficult.
In order to reduce the impact of inequality and to promote fairer and egalitarian societies, The United Nations , different organizations and governments have been gathering forces to fight against and to give a big priority to this economic and social topic in the different agendas.
Actions to reduce inequality:
When Kompaz took a closer look at actors who contribute to reduce and change inequality, we found out that a lot can be done with will, experimental education and attitude.
One example of this is Tiempo de Juego , a non-profit organization which invest a lot of time and effort in young kids who live in a very complex context of violence and poverty in Altos de Cazucá, one of the poorest and most violent areas in Soacha municipality, very close to the Colombian capital.
The majority of kids that participate in the programs offered by Tiempo de Juego live in adverse environments that place them at risk of social and economic failure. Moreover, these kids have a lot of free time after school and due to the context where they live in, they face the risk of getting involved with crime, drugs, several violent situations and to drop out of school. To avoid this, Tiempo de Juego has proposed a fun and inclusive way to offer extracurricular activities to engage kids and young adults with a life project throughout sports and arts. In these several activities, kids are able to develop human skills, to have a productive time and to socialize with others kids in similar situations.
These early interventions in childhood and adolescence help to fix the effects of complicated social contexts and this has a huge impact in communities and in a society scale in the long-term. Investing in children borned in disadvantaged contexts will help to decrease crime rates and to have better educated students and more capable workers that will end up being better citizens.