It is a fact that the world’s resources and wealth is unequally distributed. The rich north has 85% of the world’s wealth, yet the poor South has three quarters of the world’s population. These developing countries in the South need more money to improve the lives of their people, because this inequality is resulting in major problems, for example; One fifth of developing countries’ people suffer from hunger. This is not because they do not have enough food to grow, as there is enough food to feed the whole world, but that they are exporting most of their food, at cheap prices in order for them to support their families and pay off their debts. However, in the United States of America, one third of all Americans are overweight. People in the South are being exploited by people in the North because of the inequality in the world. In the fashion industry, for example in the factories in Bangladesh, girls as young as twelve are working sometimes as much as 24 hours a day in the most horrendous conditions. They stand all day in stuffy and cramped rooms, at machines which are seriously dangerous, (and of course they are not aware of that) having only two breaks, including lunch. If the girls feel ill or tired then they have to pay for a stool to sit on, and if they need the toilet they must also pay. All of this the girls must endure, for nothing, because if they do not fulfil their production quota in a day then they will not get paid. If they do fulfil their quota they only get paid less than half a percent of what the profit of the item is bought for in a developed county. It is a vicious cycle in which they can do nothing about. If they try, they lose their jobs, as they can be easily replaced. The girls have no real power because they do not have the knowledge and education to help them fight for equality. Many organisations make the girls aware of these exploitations, and support the girls, who do stand up to the greedy manufacturers, but this exploitation is extremely hard to prove, and the girls take many risks by doing this.
Christians would be against this exploitation, they treat everyone as their neighbour because they believe that we are all God’s children, and he wouldn’t want to see his children suffering, so it is a Christian’s duty and responsibility, as brothers and sisters of these exploited people to be concerned, and to help and care for them. In the final judgement God rewarded those who helped the less fortunate because they saw God in everyone. True Christians should see God in everyone, and therefore care for all mankind. The followers in the final judgement did not ignore the suffering, otherwise they were ignoring God, as he said, “I tell you whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.”
Christians should learn this from this story, and treat everyone in need, if you do this you are being a true Christian. If Christians help the suffering now then they will be rewarded in Heaven, for however you act now will be judged later on. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man fails to help the beggar, so he was punished in his second life because he ignored a person in need. This is why Christians should not rely just on material possessions. Jesus told his disciples to be totally dependant on God, and not to make money their top priority, but God. Sometimes money can become an obstacle, and it makes people too greedy. Christians are warned about greed in Jesus’ teachings, ” watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a man’s life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he is” Many people in the North of the world have become too greedy, however much they have, and they want more, so they exploit the people in the developing countries. The people in the developing countries suffer through our greed. Christians are taught through the story of Barnabas and the Community life of the Church (Acts 4:32-37) to be more like the early Christians and share their wealth and possessions, because then there will be no more poverty and hunger, because everyone has enough. This teaching can apply to today, if we give a little of our wealth and time to the people in the developing countries, then maybe they can have a better chance of a life. We should be more like the widow, in Marks Gospel, she was a true Christian. She put herself last of all, and everyone in front of herself. If we today can follow in her footsteps by putting others in front of ourselves and thinking of those girls working for nothing in those factories, then we will be helping those in need and God. We can do this by quite simply giving up a few luxuries that we really don’t need, for example chocolate. It is a fact that the amount of money Britain spends on chocolate in one year could clear all of Africa’s debts so if we could just save that money, then this could be the start of equality. Jesus came to redeem people of their sins, to bring the good news and to help the poor. Jesus taught his followers that the only way to help the poor was through their actions, as he says, “show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” Many Christians, who belong to organisations such as CAFOD, the Catholic Fund for overseas development follows through Jesus’ examples, by giving direct help to the poor in developing countries. CAFOD gives help to the people in the developing countries, by giving them skills for life. They don’t want handouts, they just need a chance to be given the education and skills to help themselves. The problem is that 800 million people in developing countries are illiterate. So CAFOD give them long-term aid, by educating them and giving them skills that will be with them for life, and will help them more than emergency supplies of food that would last for a couple of days. “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and he will feed himself for life.” CAFOD workers also so do not ignore those girls in the factories being exploited. They give direct help to the girls in the factories, making them aware of how mis-treated they actually are, and encourage them to try and fight for better working conditions. Christians don’t have to become an aid worker to help people in developing countries. Any sort of help no matter how small it is is better than nothing. Many people write to manufactures making them aware that we know what they are doing, and they also ask for better and safer working conditions for the girls. Public pressure would soon make these companies do something about it, and it has already worked. All we need to do is put some effort into helping these people. A little bit of our time will really be appreciated by those less fortunate than us. Even the earliest Christian teachings tell us to help the poor. No Christians should be against helping those suffering, especially because of our greed. A Christian should be willing to help anyone, we are all made in God’s image, and therefore we should all work together to fight for equality in the world. It may never happen, for it could be too late, but we can at least stop the suffering of these people. Many in the North may feel that the poor are a burden, that the poor are too lazy, and that the people in the North work harder than those in developing countries, but do they really? One must always remember that there will always be the poor, but without the poor, there wouldn’t be the rich.