And Its Impact On Children –
A Wake Up Call
02 November, 2006
Times’ UK edition issue dated October 9, 2006 had an opinion piece
on edit page titled “It’s just as you might think : being
poor can damage your brain”
The piece was written by
Anjana Ahuja and it says that ‘Poor kids tend to fare badly at
school. Rich children tend to do better. Poverty seems to run, like
an oppressive thread, through the generations. Affluence also knits
generations together, although that thread has a silkier sheen.
She rightly says in her piece
that this is no great revelation, but may be writing about this call
for action. She looks at the issue of poverty, impact on children and
why poverty is so often paired with low intellectual attainment which
could prove seismic. She adds a research experience of Martha Farah,
the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University
of Pennsylvania, has raised the possibility that a deprived childhood
may affect the physical development of the brain and render its owner
less intellectually capable. Professor Farah as quote in the article
very strongly compares poverty and behaviour-altering drugs as Ritalin
as an agent that can change the fundamentals of who you are.
She adds in her piece about
how poverty can impact children. She adds Poverty harms children in
a very concrete way – by altering their brains. She is not saying
anything new but point is once again she is making a point and basically
people to action.
Probably when one looks at
the statement and situation in India it may be true. India has highest
number of malnourished children. Though, one part of India is shining
while India still has large population which is below the poverty line.
India still faces a major challenge of livelihood and food security.
These issues have huge impact on malnourished children which affects
their learning abilities and development especially the ones under three
years of age.
In Madhya Pradesh in India
more than 50% children are malnourished, and it has highest infant mortality
rates in India. Interestingly, when one places this opinion piece against
a news item published on October 19, in media in the state of Madhya
Pradesh. It said that ‘MP marches into record book’ a news
for ‘stand up against poverty’ campaign wherein 3.3 million
people in the state stood up against poverty.
Am not sure when we are talking
of an issue which have far fetched impact on children and our future
generations, is this the only way to reduce poverty and address the
issue of malnourishment and brain damage of children or the energies
spent on events like could have been used in a better way ? A thought
Though it is clear that there
is a strong need for action on the issue of poverty in India and globally
and combating its impact on our future generations. Nevertheless a point
well made by Anjana in her piece in The Times.
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