Hacer Foggo, CHP Poverty Solidarity Office Coordinator, talks about the financial problems of children in Turkey. Foggo; He spoke of the existence of children dropping out of school to contribute to the family economy, and of families who do not know the size of their child’s shoes because they cannot shop because of economic problems.
Foggo talks to ANKA News Agency about child poverty as follows:
“Stunning in the Ministry of Health Research; 5% in southeastern Anatolia and 2% in Turkey”
April 23 is Children’s Day, but for me, the last two years have been a time of high child poverty. In fact, we were very impressed with our friends. The concept of child poverty is not actually poverty based on income; When you look at it from the point of view of deprivation, when you look at it from the point of view of human development or from the point of view of human rights, you actually see the poverty of each person in each family differently. Poverty of women, poverty of adults, poverty of children … because children in particular depend on their families or whoever they are, on the roof that they live on, on the adults. Therefore, the poverty experienced there directly affects the child. Why? Because it is defenseless. That is why child poverty is so important. Therefore, preventing child poverty means that future generations will not be poor. That means those children do not carry this legacy on their shoulders, on their small shoulders. But unfortunately, I see that child poverty has increased rapidly since the epidemic, and as I recently said, the report in the Turkish Journal of Family Physicians was a very impressive report on child poverty. As a result of a study and research conducted on 1040 children, it has been revealed that the higher the rate of anemia in children and the lower the age group, the lower the weight of children. Again, stunting in research conducted by TÜİK and the Ministry of Health; It is about 5 percent in southeastern Anatolia and 2 percent in Turkey. These are all numbers, but each one represents a child, and what lies behind it is chronic hunger, malnutrition. This is actually a problem that started with the epidemic, but now it is in a much worse situation than the epidemic.
“At the very least, it is important that children have access to healthy food in addition to healthy nutrition and nutritious nutrition in school.”
Due to rising food prices, people are not getting food at present. The children leave without school meals. There is a Child Action Plan which is jointly announced and prepared by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Family and Social Services and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. For example, one in four children is obese. Obesity is actually a kind of unhealthy food, but it is also a disease caused by a kind of food. In particular, people now eat equally because the price of food is much higher. In this action plan, the Ministry of Health and all the ministries I have mentioned have created a nutrition program; The program includes providing free meals in all of Turkey, especially in public schools, starting in 2020, starting in eastern Anatolia and southeastern Anatolia. But unfortunately it was not implemented. Why is it so important? Because people are suffering from malnutrition at the moment, as in the study I just gave an example, children are at risk of heart disease, anemia and at least it is important that children who do not eat well at home and those who are malnourished get healthy food to school. It is necessary for a healthy generation.
“Between 2021-2022 alone, the number of children who did not return to school is 160,000. I have seen many children drop out of school.”
Initially, the number of vacations is high, only 160,000 children did not return to school during the interval of 2021-2022. In the last two years, I’ve seen a lot of kids drop out of school, especially the ones I’ve visited. It is very difficult to bring them back to school, explain to them – why? Because no matter where mom, dad or they live, they talk a lot about my livelihood and that’s exactly what happened. Meanwhile, one room, two room house and that child somehow hears it and feels a burden there. Many mothers and children have also told me; The child said, ‘I want to work too, I want to contribute for my parents’, many mothers told me ‘kids see us, we can’t rent if we buy food; We can’t pay the price of water if we pay for electricity and we are talking about this all the time in this house. The kid wants chicken, but we can’t get it, we can’t put anything in the lunchbox on the way to school. ‘ All this discomfort also annoys the child and creates traumatic situations in the child and I have seen many children drop out of school for this reason. The statistics say so.
“I don’t think the family has a follow-up mechanism that strengthens both the family and the child.”
As per the announcement of the Ministry of Family, the social assistance provided for the care of 141,000 needy and at-home children at risk has increased compared to last year. According to the Ministry of Family, it has increased 2.5 times. These children are also at risk, because children who cannot go to school or drop out of school need care. The need for care means that the family is almost at an all-time low financially, but the childcare they are given at the moment is actually very small. Statistics increase from 65 lira to 600-700 lira depending on the number of children. Let me say that the rent of these families is already one thousand lira, now the rent of this house has increased to about two thousand lira. The social support they get from them, their daily work, temporary textile jobs or people working as casual workers cannot meet all their basic needs, both house rent and food shopping. The money given by the ministry is actually in electricity bill or other bill. It is not a welfare benefit that protects the child. That is why he leaves school and is absent from school. Prisons do not have a system that monitors children who have parents and are out. I say this because of the example of my experience. There is no social system to protect the child. Don’t you have Of course there is. I don’t think there is a follow-up system in the family that strengthens both the family and the child.
“Some mothers do not know the size of their child”
Especially about children living in deep poverty. Why? The statistics are there. In the family I talk to and visit every day, I find that a child who leaves school or does not go to school cannot be sent because he has no food, does not eat, goes to bed hungry in the evening, has no shoes, has no clothes, is on vacation. Don’t know what to wear for. Some mothers do not know the size of their child. There are families who did not buy so much and took the baby to the store and did not shop or do not know the size of their shoes. Children are living in these environments. A mother I met two days ago said she wanted to buy a holiday gift for her child. I went to that family’s house 3-4 weeks ago. The child wears the same shoes when going to school, the shoes do not fit his feet, but he cannot open his mouth and tell his family. Her mother knows.
“Children’s rights need a social policy in the context of human rights”
A social policy that will prevent child poverty and aimed at the well-being of children should be implemented through both the child poverty policy and the rights of children in general. I am the CHP Poverty Solidarity Office Coordinator. I am a person who has worked especially with child poverty and so have my peers. In fact, we are trying to implement such a policy. What is needed is a social policy that will make poor children happy, not a policy that emphasizes the rights of the child and is based on his victim or need, but a social policy that is seen from the point of view of children. Rights and human rights.
“There are some children who are abused where they work, there is no control. They don’t talk and enjoy. “
As I mentioned earlier, children see themselves as a burden in the family and children are not supervised in the education system, they create a strategy for themselves because the children living in the poorer neighborhoods become poorer. One way is to drop out of school and start working. It contains the latest 2019 data In TÜİK’s 2019 Child Labor Study, the employment rate for children aged 5-17 is 4.4 percent or 34.3% and working children are not continuing their education. Again, as of 2019, 30 percent of children are in agriculture, 23.7 percent in industry, and 45.5 percent in services. It’s also a work murder and I hear it from kids again. There is no surveillance in places where children are abused. To feed so many children at home, they have to put up with it without raising their voices. We see that this number will increase in 2021-2022 and child poverty will also increase. When the epidemic began, there were more than 3 million children who could not enter distance education, according to the National Ministry of Education. When we were working at that time, we actually wrote that children cannot enter distance learning, they don’t have tablets, they have no contact with school. During the holidays, there was nothing that could be done to get these kids back to class or make up for all these lessons. These children are left to themselves.
“If a child is on the street is at risk”
There is a phrase that I use often, that a child is at risk if he is on the street. So if he is not in school, he is at risk. Because, in fact, a child who is not in school during school hours has taken on the label of poverty, understanding poverty until he or she becomes an adult. Early childhood education is the only thing that needs to be done so that these children stay in school and the child does not continue to live in poverty for generations. ”