On October 17 1987, 100,000 people gathered in Paris to remember victims of poverty, violence, hunger and inequality. This was the very first International Anti-Poverty Day.
27 years on, a lot has been achieved, but there is still great need. 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day. One-third of urban residents in developing regions live in slums, and 1 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation.
Almost 300,000 women die each year from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Around 600 children die every day from AIDS-related causes, and there are an estimated 17.8 million children aged 0-17 who have lost either one or both parents to AIDS.
781 million adults and 126 million youth worldwide lack basic literary skills. More than 60% of these are women.
In the year 2000, all 189 UN Member State Governments committed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals included making significant improvements in the areas of global poverty, healthcare, education, gender equality, and child mortality.
Much has been achieved over the past 13 years. The number of people living in extreme poverty decreased from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 1.2 by 2010. The child mortality rate has almost halved since 1990; six million fewer children died in 2012 than 1990. Over 2.3 billion more people have gained access to clean water since 1990.
From 17-19 October, churches across the world will join in a weekend of prayer for the poor; remembering their plight, giving thanks for all that has been achieved, and praying that God would enable governments to continue bringing relief to the poor globally.
We will be praying as part of our service on Sunday 19 October, but you may also want to set aside some time to pray during the week.
Check out the Micah Challenge website, where you will find information about the Millennium Development Goals, prayer points, and some pre-written prayers to help you pray.
Image: Give us this day by Kris, used under CC