Anoyara Khatun Anoyara Khatun was the victim of a very real threat to many Indian children. At age 12, Khatun became one of the millions of children who are trafficked every year. An organization called Save the Children rescued her from her life of domestic slavery, and since then she has been determined to be a part of the solution.

Upon returning to her village at age 13, Khatun realized that the situation was not much better for girls in her home in West Bengal than for girls in slavery. Girls from her home were forced into child marriages, and still more were being trafficked to cities.

According to the International Center for Research on Women, 47 percent of girls are married before age 18 in India. Meanwhile, a staggering 135,000 children are estimated to be trafficked in India annually.

When forced into marriage or work at a young age, children are robbed of their childhood; Khatun hopes to restore the gift of a childhood to young people in India.

Khatun joined the Save the Children’s Multi-Activity Centre almost immediately after escaping domestic slavery. However, she wasn’t able to reach as many Indian children as she thought was necessary to make a real impact.

Consequently, Khatun formed children groups throughout her village to discuss solutions to the rampant child marriage and trafficking in India, raise awareness about these issues and educate people about the dangers.

Over time, by working with Save the Children as well as a growing number of adults in the community, Khatun was able to accomplish amazing feats.

So far, she has been instrumental to reuniting 180 victims of trafficking with their families and rescuing 85 children from trafficking. She has also prevented 35 child marriages and registered 200 children into schools.

Recently, Khatun has expanded her horizons and joined many superstars in the charity world. She is working alongside Bill and Melinda Gates to push the Every Woman, Every Child initiative.

This initiative was launched during the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010. It includes a goal to “address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world.”

Clearly, Anoyara Khatun has a unique perspective and fervor for child rights. She is changing the lives of Indian children every day.

Sabrina Yates


The first of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals is that of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. But according to the recently released 2014 Human Development Report, there are still 1.2 billion people living on $1.25 a day or less with little access to adequate food — and a vast majority of Africans fall into this group.

Here are six facts to know about hunger in Africa:

1. Although Africa is the second largest continent and covers close to one fifth of the Earth’s land area, the 54 countries that comprise the continent cannot feed their people. This is not due to a lack of food but instead a lack of agricultural infrastructure, raised food prices, drought and conflict.

2. In the most recent estimate (2010), approximately 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry. Out of those, 30 percent were undernourished.

3. There are many mouths to feed. African population growth expanded from 221 million in 1950 to 1 billion in 2009 and is expected to be 4 billion in the year 2100. With such a high population, it is nearly impossible to produce enough food for everyone.

4. Poverty is a cause of hunger, hunger is a cause of poverty. Living under the poverty line makes it extremely difficult to buy food. Without food and with hunger, a person has lack of energy and can develop health problems which mean lost days at work and more medical needs.

5. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, 160 million African children are malnourished, and one in five children will never reach 5 years of age.

6. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are a major cause of death in women and children. These deficiencies are often referred to as “hidden hunger.” To combat this problem, UNICEF reported that “The WHO, the New Economic Partnership for African Development, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Micronutrient Initiative  and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition” have ensured that two-thirds of the sub-Saharan population now have access to iodized salt and children have been give vitamin A supplements.

While these facts are startling and seem unconquerable, they do not need to be. By moving to action, Africa can put an end to its hunger crisis. Moves to action may include donation to a charity or NGOs, such as The Borgen Project and contacting your state senator and asking them to support increase aid in U.S. foreign policy to end hunger in Africa.

Kori Withers

Sources: UNICEF, NPR, United Nations, World Issues 360, Hunger Notes, United Nations Development Program
Photo: Flickr

sustainable development goals
Since 2000, the U.N. has strived to alleviate global poverty in the world through the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. These eight goals are based on the recurring health and societal issues discussed at U.N. conferences throughout the 1990s that the U.N. hopes to achieve by the end of 2015. But with the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline quickly approaching, the U.N. is now focusing on how these goals can be developed into a new set of goals known as the Sustainable Development Goals to continue the progress seen in developing countries after 2015.

Over the past 14 years, some of the MDGs have been met, while others remain far from completion according to the U.N.’s 2013 fact sheets. Unfortunately, the success rates of these goals really vary depending on the specific region and country. Even though some MDGs have been more successful than others, the fact that some improvement has been achieved, no matter how small, proves that this type of plan can be effective, which is why the U.N. is currently considering new goals for the post-2015 time period.

Along with the name change of the list of goals, there are also several other significant differences between these two sets of goals. As discussed at the Rio+20 Conference, the Sustainable Development Goals look to not only revise the MDGs but also expand on them. According to the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, it is expected that a larger amount of global leaders will be involved in the implementation of these international goals so the specific concerns, needs and resources of each country will be considered.

While the original MDGs focused more on health issues, such as poverty, hunger, and societal issues like gender inequality and a lack of education, this new list of goals may prove to be more difficult to achieve. They involve challenging standards such as climate change and the job market. But like the MDGs, the SDGs still hold eradicating extreme poverty in a central role while also hoping to make significant impacts in the social, economic and environmental fields.

These Sustainable Development Goals are scheduled to be confirmed this September by the General Assembly in order to continue the progress made in developing countries and to one day see an end to these global health and societal issues.

 — Meghan Orner

Sources: United Nations Millennium GoalsSustainable Development Knowledge Platform,  Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
Photo: The Guardian

Motorbikes Role in Reaching the UN's Millennium Development Goals
UNICEF donated 73 motorbikes to nonprofit organizations to help them better and more effectively monitor and implement their water and sanitation projects in Sierra Leone. These projects are to build or revamp wells and sanitation spaces in communities, schools, and health centers.

By giving these nonprofit organizations access to motorbikes, UNICEF is hoping to help reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The motorbikes are thought to help by accelerating the efforts being made to improve access to water and, thus, contribute to the push for anti-poverty that the Millennium Development Goals are in place for.

As of now, only 57 percent of people in Sierra Leone have access to clean drinkable water with access to such water in rural areas being much rarer than in more urban areas. Accordingly, only 48 percent of people have access to clean water sources in rural areas, whereas 76 percent of those living in urban households have access. A significant amount of water consumed in rural areas is sourced to surface water, which is vulnerable to a multitude of waterborne diseases. This makes it imperative to improve water conditions and provisions and rural areas. The motorbikes will help make this possible by enabling NGOs to bring life-saving facilities to areas that are very remote and hard to access. They will also cut down on the amount of time necessary to get from local to local, allowing for NGO members to monitor their projects faster and easier.

Earnest Sesay, Director of Family Homes Movement, one of the NGOs that received motorbikes from UNICEF,  said “On behalf of the implementing partners of UNICEF WASH, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for this donation. With these motorbikes, the hurdles of reaching out to remote communities will be a problem of the past.”

– Angela Hooks

Source: AllAfrica