If work as street vendors, shoe shiners and

If you look at a world map
that shows the Human Development Index you will find sub Saharan Africa and
South Asia as having the lowest figures. 
HDI is a combined measurement of life expectancy, education and income
per person.  In 2015, the UKS HDI in was
0.909 – 1 is the best score,  in Yemen,
it was 0.482 and Bangladesh it was 0.579. Let’s take a closer look at these
areas.

Geographers would say that
south Asia is at stage three of the demographic transition model.  A typical population pyramid for this area
would show a low death rate and a falling birth rate.  In the 1990s, these countries would have been
where sub Saharan Africa is now, with a high birth rate and a falling death
rate; the base of the pyramid would be wide and the sides sloping at about 45
degrees.   The death rate has fallen due
to improvements in medical care, food supply and cleaner water and the birth
rate is falling due to the availability and acceptability of contraception, the
improved status of women  and the
realisation that as children are surviving childhood, there is no need to have
such large families. As a result of this, in both of these regions, the
population is growing and there are large numbers of children.  We would call the children ‘dependents’ as
they do not work and depend on their families to provide for them.

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Herein lies a problem – these
countries are poor and in many cases the families can not provide for their
children.  In fact the reverse is true,
children are needed to provide for their families.  This leads to child labour.  Rather than go to school, children are sent
out to work.  The jobs they do are low
paid and the conditions in which they work are often unsafe – children work as
street vendors, shoe shiners and as cleaners.  
Estimates are that, each day, 
around the world 70 million do not go to school and the majority of
these are in north Africa.  More girls
than boys are out of school.  This is
because girls are given jobs looking after babies and when a girl marries, her
dowry does not depend on her education. 
Faced with the financial  choice
of just educating one children, families will usually send their son to school.  Despite it being a Millennium development
Goal, large numbers of children fail to complete primary school  – UNESCO estimates the figure to be 20% – and
this affects the future economic development of a country.

We have seen that conditions
are poor  and the standard to living in
south Asia and sub Saharan Africa are low, it is for that reason that many
people try to leave. The UN estimate that a quarter of Somalians have left
their country and a million Syrians have become refugees.  People are willing to risk life and limb to
start a new life – in the first two months of 2016 400 people died trying to
cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Italy – at the same time the previous
year it was 69.  The number of refugees
and asylum seekers is increasing – on average 2000 people arrive on the
European Mediterranean coast every day.

So how have European countries
responded to this refugee crisis? 
Germany has had a ‘wilkommenskultur’ 
in which all people are welcomed into Germany – the refugees help to combat
a skills shortage and an ageing population. 
Germans have actively helped refugees by taking clothes to camps,
helping with medical bills, teaching people german and even offering them beds
in their homes.    The UK government is  taking part in the UN’s programme to resettle refugees who have
fled from their home countries, including those affected by conflict or civil
war.  Since 2011, humanitarian protection
has been given to over 5000 Syrians and in 2015 the Prime Minister said the UK
would provide homes for up to 20 000 Syrians until 2020.  In addition the UK has given over  a billion pounds worth of aid to help people
in Syria.

In May 2016 the
Italian coastguards launched a rescue mission to help refugees who were adrift
in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya – they managed to save 3000
people.   But not all stories have such a
happy ending. The previous year, Amnesty International released video footage
which appeared to show Greek coastguards deliberately sinking a dinghy full
of  58 refugees.  We can only imagine how awful life must be
for the refugees if they are willing to risk death to start a new life in
Europe.