By Gerald V. Paul
That’s how a mother of four, who lives hand to mouth, described a Toronto life in poverty.
Marie (who does not want her real name used) told Eyes about the stress of not knowing where the next meal, the next supply of clothing and other basic amenities of life will come from as she ekes out a meager life in a city where 29% of children live in poverty. That translates to almost 149,000 kids.
Simpson, of Caribbean origin, said she trusts in God, the church and social agencies to survive and concurs with Archbishop Dr. Deloris Seiveright and Sharon Joseph, executive director at Breakaway Relief Foundation, that there is a need to continue to help make a difference in the epidemic of child poverty.
Picture this, Eyesers – across Toronto, almost 40% of the city’s 140 neighbourhoods have child poverty rates of 30% or more, according to an analysis by a coalition of children’s and poverty activists of Statistics Canada’s recently released 2012 tax filler data.
Most troubling, however, is that after gradually decreasing to 27% in 2010 from a high of 32% in 2000, child poverty in the city is on the rise, now averaging 29% across Toronto or more than one quarter of children in the city.
Across the city, residents of African, Asian, Middle Easter, Caribbean and Latin American backgrounds are more likely to be living in poverty. However, not all neighbourhoods are suffering as badly.
Two-time Grey Cup Champion Brian Warren, the founder of Start2Finish, noted that “In Canada, almost one million children are living in poverty.”
He said his organization has helped more than 70,000 Canadian children living in poverty to date, with more yet to come.
Start2Finish helps by involving children in sports, educational programs, reading, math and other subjects and also through research.
As well as poverty affecting children in their daily lives, it has been shown to lead to serious problems in later life. Poverty manifests itself through hunger, housing issues and can result in family violence and crime.
The African Canadian Legal Clinic, Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (IACHR), and Osgoode Hall Law School on Saturday are presenting a Human Rights Forum on the Experiences of African Descendants in Canada in Toronto.
At this forum, individuals and community-based organizations that serve African Canadians will be invited to make deputations to IACHR Commissioner Dr. Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, the commission’s rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination.
The forum will be at Osgoode Professional Development Offices, 1 Dundas St. W., Suite 2602.