Children around globe worry about education, environment: poll

NEW YORK Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:14am IST

Children sit in a tent belonging to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at a relief centre for flood victims in Patani community of Delta state October 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tife Owolabi

Children sit in a tent belonging to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at a relief centre for flood victims in Patani community of Delta state October 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tife Owolabi

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Education, food and the environment are top concerns for children around the globe, and particularly for youngsters growing up in developing countries, according to an international poll released on Tuesday.

Half of children, aged 10 to 12, in emerging nations who were questioned in the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey cited education, followed by food, clothing and shelter as the areas they would focus on as leader of their nation to improve children's lives.

"We're always surprised and inspired to see how much emphasis children in developing countries put on education," said Steven Stirling, executive vice president of ChildFund International, a children's advocacy non-profit formerly known as the Christian Children's Fund.

"It shows the depth of maturity of children, who clearly understand the connection between education and changing their worlds for the better," he added in an interview.

Providing food, clothing and shelter was the top response given by children from developed nations, and the environment and was a concern for everyone.

The findings are based on online interviews with 6,204 children from 47 nations in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. The children were also asked about their aspirations, experiences with disasters and environmental concerns and priorities.

Although one third or more of children in developing countries had experienced natural disasters such as floods, drought or fires, pollution was a bigger worry for them.

Children in poorer nations worried about global warming but youngsters in rich countries did not list it as a concern.

Sterling suggested that global warming might be less of a worry in richer nations because children in developing countries are experiencing more natural disasters that have a greater, negative impact.

"Their ideas for environmental solutions were encouraging: across the world, nearly half of children said they'd either plant more trees, build additional green spaces or decrease littering to help improve the planet," he said.

"Complex social problems affecting children are better addressed if children are part of the solution," he added.

Children from developing nations also differed sharply with those from developed nations when it came to career aspirations.

More than half of children in developing countries said they wanted to be a teacher or healthcare professional, while those in developed countries, whom Stirling noted often had the luxury of choosing a career, wanted to be a professional athlete.

But when asked, "What are you most afraid of?" the worldwide response was the same -- animals.

The full results of the survey can be found at www.childfund.org/dreams201

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney)

FILED UNDER:

Religion and Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage