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Jesus calls his followers to become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. But what does it look like to welcome children as Jesus commanded? How do we support children’s faith and not become stumbling blocks in our homes, churches, communities, and around the world?

… ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’—Matthew 18:3-5 (NIV)

World Vision’s nearly 70 years of experience working to reduce material poverty goes hand in hand with our work to overcome spiritual poverty. Children cannot truly experience fullness of life unless they have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of God’s love. But we also cannot expect children to experience God’s love if they are hungry, sick, or exploited.

World Vision’s Christian faith is woven into the fabric of all of our work. Through all we do — drilling wells, offering innovative agricultural training, providing microloans, preventing child labor, responding to disasters — we are following Jesus in showing unconditional love to the poor and oppressed. We serve every child we can, regardless of their faith, and are sensitive to the diverse contexts in which we work.

World Vision supports children’s faith and helps them experience the love of God through five main areas.

1. At home and school — We equip parents and caregivers to provide a safe and caring environment.

A family home should be a nurturing place, but typically it is where a child is first exposed to violence. At least 1.7 billion of the 2.2 billion children in the world experience violence every year in their homes, schools, or communities. It is hard to experience God’s love if the primary caregivers in your life do not show you love.

That’s why we equip parents, caregivers, and teachers to provide a safe and caring environment for children’s spiritual growth that reflects Christian values.

From 2016 to 2017, World Vision trained 134,387* parents in positive discipline and also engaged 263,379 community members in attitude change sessions to help transform cultural norms of violence against children. In addition, 212,205 children and youth participated in World Vision programs to end violence against children.

Children in Honduras no longer experience violence at school after teachers were trained in positive ways of interacting with students.
In Honduras, World Vision equipped 4,089 leaders to make homes and schools safer places for children. Teachers like Carla Isaula (center) learned to interact with children using kindness and empathy instead of harsh discipline. The teachers also learn to promote healthy interaction in families and empower students to make positive choices in relationships. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

2. At church — We empower and mobilize churches to help children grow in their faith.

We desire that every church in our project areas sees World Vision as an indispensable partner in fulfilling God’s purposes in their communities. World Vision has developed a global network of partnerships with more than 14,000 local churches, enabling us to reach deeply into communities and nurture children’s faith in Christ.

However, in the impoverished communities where World Vision works, most churches lack the knowledge or training to create ministry programs that engage children’s curiosity and interest with age-appropriate communications.

World Vision trains tens of thousands of faith leaders every year to equip them to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of children and their communities. We help to strengthen local leadership and equip them with practical programs and tools for ministry, including children’s ministry.

Churches are our indispensable partners in God’s mission. World Vision has developed a global network of partnerships with more than 13,000 local churches, giving us the ability to reach deeply into communities and nurture children’s faith in Christ.
Sunday school at Full Gospel Church in Ethiopia was not a fun place. Children from ages 3 to 14 were crammed into one large room, and the program was dull. Fetlework, now 26, remembers being bored. “Me and my friends never liked that,” she says. Today, as a partner with Full Gospel Church, World Vision has trained 10 Sunday school teachers, including Fetlework who serves full time in the children’s ministry. Sunday school is now engaging and fun for the children. They play games, listen to Bible stories, study verses, and perform dramas. “I can see the fruit of my lessons, and I get very happy,” says Fetlework. “I feel like I have contributed a lot in shaping the next generation.” (©2018 World Vision/photo by Mesrach Ayele)

3. In after-school programs — We enable children to grow in their awareness, knowledge, and experience of Jesus.

Nearly 3.5 million children and youth participate in World Vision discipleship and values education. After-school programs include vacation Bible schools, Bible clubs, church-based camps, and school-based biblical values formation. These programs keep children engaged in positive activities, equip them to make healthy choices, help improve their relationships, and nurture their faith in God.

After-school clubs, like this one in El Salvador, keep children off the streets and engaged in positive activities. Bible clubs and faith-based programs help nurture children’s faith and commitment to follow Christ. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Katia Maldonado)

4. In ministry — We equip youth to explore God’s purpose for their lives and live out their faith by mentoring children and peers.

World Vision provides leadership training for youth to learn and give back to their community and to other children. Globally, 304,471 adolescents attend regular groups for support and training. As children and youth grow in their faith convictions, they become ambassadors for Christ in their communities.

This training equips adolescents to help lead after-school activities including Bible clubs. Younger children benefit from the positive role models of older children, and older children grow in their confidence and their faith.

These youth develop important life skills that shape their decisions as they become adults. In places like Central America, training helps youth find their identity in Christ, rather than in gangs. And, as they teach others, they reinforce the firm foundation they’ve built in Christ.

In places like Central America, training helps youth find their identity in Christ, rather than in gangs.
For some children, gangs offer more than a way to make money. Gangs substitute for family. That’s why World Vision offers support through projects like youth workforce development in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This project is not only preparing more than 200 youth for the job market, but it is also offering them community and a firm foundation in faith. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

5. In God’s Word — We make Bibles available to churches and families.

When struggling to make ends meet, buying a Bible is out of the question, so children and adults rely on teachings from local church leaders to guide their faith. They don’t have an opportunity to study God’s Word for themselves or deepen their understanding of how to live Christ-like lives. Many ministry leaders don’t even have their own Bible to use for study or preaching.

World Vision offices in 25 countries have requested more than 2 million Bibles to strengthen the faith of children and families. We have recently distributed more than 94,000 Bibles in nine countries that are being used in Sunday school classes, after-school Bible clubs, and personal devotion as well as to help improve children’s reading skills. But we need your help.

Help grow children’s faith and empower the local church.

At an after-school Bible club in Kenya, students sing and hold their treasured Bibles provided to them by World Vision. At another local school, 13-year-old Sila, says, “I am thankful to World Vision, for it has provided us with materials for Bible club, including my first children’s Bible and African study Bible.” (©2015 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Mesrach Ayele, Kari Costanza, Chris Huber, and Katia Maldonado contributed to this story.

*Data gathered from World Vision’s Evidence & Learning team.

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The world is making huge strides in overcoming global poverty. Since 1990, a quarter of the world has risen out of extreme poverty. Now, less than 10 percent of the world lives in extreme poverty, surviving on $1.90 a day or less.

When families move out of poverty, children’s health and well-being improve. Since 1990, the number of children dying — mostly from preventable causes such as poverty, hunger, and disease — is less than half of what it was, dropping from more than 35,000 a day to under 15,000.

While progress continues, fragile contexts and countries affected by conflict, poor governance, and natural disasters, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have seen an increase in people living in poverty.

World Vision is committed to ending poverty and helping every child experience Jesus’ promise of life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Though eradicating global poverty is hard, particularly in fragile contexts, World Vision believes there is reason to hope.

Ending global poverty is a priority not only for World Vision. By 2030, as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, global leaders aim to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.

Help end global poverty.

History of the eradication of poverty

In the past two hundred years, the world has made tremendous progress in ending global poverty.

Image courtesy of Our World in Data

1820: The vast majority of the world lived in extreme poverty 200 years ago. Only a small elite segment enjoyed higher standards of living. Since then, economic growth has transformed our world, lifting more people out of poverty even while population numbers have multiplied sevenfold.

1945: Following World War II, representatives of 50 countries signed the U.N. Charter, which acknowledged that maintaining peace is connected with improved social development and social justice.

1964: President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty” in the United States.

1970: The number of people living in extreme poverty peaked at 2.2 billion.

1981: The World Bank began collecting data on global poverty. Mostly through household surveys, they found that 44 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty.

1990: The World Bank defined extreme poverty as people living on $1 or less a day. Around 1.85 billion people, or 36 percent of the world’s population, lived in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries lived on less than $1.25 a day.

1992: The U.N. adopted Agenda 21, committing to work together to combat global poverty using country-specific solutions.

1995: The United Nations brought together the largest gathering of world leaders until then, at the World Summit for Social Development, where leaders wrote the Copenhagen Declaration as a pledge to eradicate poverty.

1997: The U.N. General Assembly declared the First U.N. Decade for Eradication of Poverty from 1997 to 2006, taking the commitment from the Copenhagen Declaration and putting it into action.

2000: All 191 United Nations member states signed the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals to achieve by 2015, including reducing extreme poverty rates — then calculated as people living on less than $1 a day — by half.

2008: The World Bank re-established the international poverty line as people living on $1.25 a day, using 2005 prices for the cost of living. U.N. leaders declared the Second U.N. Decade for Eradication of Poverty from 2008 to 2017, expanding on the success of the first decade and focusing on jobs and income generation as a way to combat poverty.

2010: The Millennium Development Goal of reducing the 1990 extreme poverty rates by half was achieved five years earlier than expected.

2012: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new resolution about the future they want, recognizing that, “Eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today.”

2015: The World Bank raised the international poverty line from $1.25 a day to $1.90, based on 2011 prices for the cost of living. Also, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include goals to end poverty and hunger in all their forms.

FAQs: What you need to know about global poverty

Explore frequently asked questions about extreme poverty, poverty statistics, and learn how you can help end global poverty. Also, find out what the Bible says about poverty.

Fast facts: Global poverty


How can I help end global poverty?

  • Learn more about World Vision’s work to eradicate global poverty.
  • Pray with us for World Vision’s work around the world using Matthew 25 prayer guides.
  • Give to bring lasting change around the world by delivering life-saving help where it’s needed most.
  • Sponsor a child to help provide access to essentials such as clean water, healthcare, economic opportunity, and education. For $39 a month, you’ll help that child and their community to stand tall, free from poverty.


What is poverty?

Although poverty is often discussed in terms of dollar amounts, quality of life is also part of the conversation. Living in poverty means a life of struggle and deprivation.

Children living in poverty often lack access to a quality education. Sometimes it’s because there’s not enough quality schools, their parents cannot afford school fees, or because impoverished families need their children to work. Without a quality education, children grow up being unable to provide for their own children — thus the generational cycle of poverty.

Living in poverty also means not being able to afford a doctor or medical treatment. It means no electricity, limited shelter, and often little to no food on the table. For young children, improper nutrition can mean stunting and wasting that permanently impact their development. In impoverished countries where many people lack access to clean water and sanitation, poverty means the spread of preventable diseases and the unnecessary death of children.

Historically, poverty has been calculated based on a person’s income and how much he or she can buy with that income, but new multidimensional measures are more holistic.


What is extreme poverty?

Since 2015, the World Bank has defined extreme poverty as people living on $1.90 or less a day, measured using the international poverty line. But extreme poverty is not only about low income; it is also about what people can or cannot afford.

Extreme poverty is identified in two ways: absolute poverty and relative poverty.


What is absolute poverty and relative poverty?

Absolute poverty is when a person cannot afford the minimum nutrition, clothing, or shelter needs in their country.

Relative poverty is a household income below a certain percentage, typically 50 or 60 percent, of the median income of that country. This measurement takes into consideration the subjective cost of participating in everyday life. For example, plumbing is a necessity in some places; without plumbing, a person could be considered impoverished. However, in other places plumbing is a luxury. Relative poverty is useful for considering income inequality within a country.


What is multidimensional poverty?

Multidimensional poverty acknowledges that poverty isn’t always about income. Sometimes a person’s income might be above the poverty line, but their family has no electricity, no access to a proper toilet, no clean drinking water, and no one in the family has completed six years of school.

looks beyond income to measure a person’s healthcare, education, and living standards to determine poverty levels. It was developed in 2010 by the U.N. Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Within the categories of health, education, and living standards, there are 10 key indicators of multidimensional poverty that include nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and assets. If a person is experiencing deprivation in three of more of these standards, then he or she is multidimensionally poor.

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index offers a thorough look at poverty and can provide guidance for the specific interventions necessary in each country to eliminate poverty.


How is poverty measured?

Poverty is measured by each country’s government, which gathers data through household surveys of their own population. Entities like the World Bank provide support and may conduct their own surveys, but this data collection is time-consuming and slow. New forms of high-frequency surveys using estimates and mobile phone technology are being developed and tested.


What is a poverty line, and how are poverty lines calculated?

A poverty line, also called a poverty threshold, is the line below which it is difficult, if not impossible, to afford basic needs. The poverty line is determined in each country by adding up the cost of meeting minimum needs, such as food and shelter. Household incomes that are too low to afford minimum needs, such as food and shelter, are below the poverty line.

The income necessary to afford meeting minimum needs typically sets the poverty line for a country. Poverty lines can then be compared between countries. The international poverty line is the standard poverty line for measuring poverty globally. However, relatively new measures such as the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index include measurements of health, education, and living standards, all as signs of poverty.


Is the poverty line the same in every country?

Poverty lines are not the same in all countries. In higher income countries, the cost of living is higher and so the poverty line is higher, too. In 2017, the World Bank announced new median poverty lines, grouping countries into low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries and finding the median poverty line for those groups:

  • $1.91 per person per day — in 33 low-income countries
  • $3.21 per person per day — in 32 lower-middle-income countries, such as India and the Philippines
  • $5.48 per person per day — in 32 upper-middle-income countries, such as Brazil and South Africa
  • $21.70 per person per day — in 29 high-income countries


What is the international poverty line?

The international poverty line, currently set at $1.90 a day, is the universal standard for measuring global poverty. This line helps measure the number of people living in extreme poverty and helps compare poverty levels between countries.

As the cost of living increases, poverty lines increase too. Since 1990, the international poverty line rose from $1 a day, to $1.25 a day, and most recently in 2015 to $1.90. This means that $1.90 is necessary to buy what $1 could in 1990.

In addition to the lowest-income poverty line at $1.90, the World Bank also reports poverty rates using two new international poverty lines: a lower middle-income line set at $3.20/day and an upper middle-income line set at $5.50 a day.


What is the poverty line in the United States?

In the U.S. for a family a four, the poverty line is $25,100 a year. This means that families who earn less than that cannot afford rent, food, or other basic needs. For an individual in the U.S., the poverty line is $12,140 a year, or $33.26 per day. This poverty guideline is calculated based on information from the Census Bureau and is updated by evaluating recent price changes using the Consumer Price Index.


What was the war on poverty?

The term “war on poverty” was coined by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In President Johnson’s first State of the Union address, he acknowledged that one-fifth of Americans were living in poverty and called for “a national war on poverty.” With his war on poverty, President Johnson launched Medicare and Medicaid, expanded social security benefits, solidified the food stamps program, and subsidized school districts with a large share of impoverished students.


How many people live in poverty?

Recent estimates for global poverty are that 8.6 percent of the world, or 736 million people, live in extreme poverty on $1.90 or less a day, according to the World Bank.

In the United States, 12.3 percent of the population, or 39.7 million people, live in poverty — with an income of less than $33.26 per day — according to the 2017 census.

These numbers are calculated based on income and a person’s ability to meet basic needs. However, when looking beyond income to people experiencing deprivation in health, education, and living standards, 1.3 billion people in 104 developing countries are multidimensionally poor, according to a 2018 survey by the U.N. Development Program.


What are the root causes of poverty?

The root causes of poverty are not only lack of access to basic necessities of life like water, food, shelter, education, or healthcare. Poverty is also caused by inequities including gender or ethnic discrimination, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, and domestic violence. These inequities not only lead a person or a society into poverty but can also restrict access to social services that could help people overcome poverty.

The places most entrenched in poverty are fragile contexts, which can be entire countries or areas of a country. In fragile states areas, children and communities face higher rates of poverty due to political upheaval, past or present conflict, corrupt leaders, and poor infrastructure that limits access to education, clean water, healthcare, and other necessities.


What is the cycle of poverty?

Poverty can be a trap. For someone to get out of poverty, they need opportunities such as an education, clean water, medical facilities nearby, and financial resources. Without these basic elements, poverty becomes a cycle from one generation to the next.

If families are too poor to send their children to school, their children will have a difficult time earning an income when they grow up. If a community lacks clean water, women will spend much of their day fetching water instead of earning an income. If medical facilities are far away, a parent loses income every time they take a sick child to the doctor.

Natural disasters and conflict can add to the cycle of poverty or add people to it . When a natural disaster strikes an impoverished community without functional public institutions, families are more vulnerable and often lack basic resources to recover, thus further entrenching a community in poverty or jeopardizing one that had recently emerged.


How can we end global poverty?

We can help end global poverty by identifying what is causing poverty in a particular community and then determining what needs to change. Because poverty looks different in various places and is caused by different factors, the work to eradicate global poverty varies on the context.

World Vision works with a “Theory of Change” for each community. In partnership with the community members, we determine the desired outcomes for that community and identify key steps to reach that outcome. The desired outcomes might be the same for many communities, but the path to get there depends on the context and the resources available.

Perhaps infrastructure needs to be improved with new schools, medical clinics, or access to clean water. Or maybe, people need more economic resources to help boost their income so they can better provide for themselves and their families. Regardless of the solution, in order to ensure poverty doesn’t return, the work must be sustainable. So, the community must be involved in each step.

To end extreme poverty, the U.N. estimates that the total cost per year would be about $175 billion, less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world.


What progress has been made in reducing global poverty?

Since 1990, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty and child mortality has dropped by more than half. Reducing extreme poverty rates was a central goal in the Millennium Development Goals — eight goals signed by all United Nations member states in 2000 with a goal to achieve them by 2015. Since then, there has been much progress made in reducing global poverty.


What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals are a plan of action for countries worldwide to unify in a global partnership for the benefit of people, the planet, and prosperity. By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to end extreme poverty for all people everywhere and at least cut in half the proportion of people living in poverty in all its forms. The United Nations’ member states adopted this goal to end poverty as one of 17 goals in September 2015.


What is World Vision’s response to global poverty?

Since 1950, World Vision has been working to pull up the root causes of poverty’s weeds and plant the seeds of change. We see the multidimensional reality of global poverty, and so our work targets the biggest challenges: hunger and food security, clean water, health, education, economic empowerment, gender equality, disability inclusion, spiritual poverty, disaster relief, and child protection.

With our donors’ support, in a single year we worked to:

As a child-focused organization, World Vision sees children as a community’s most precious resource and central to addressing poverty. Our development approach focuses on children and seeks to empower their families, local communities, and partners to address the underlying causes of poverty, so children and the community can prosper.

Since poverty is different in each context, World Vision works with communities, families, local leaders, and children themselves to identify solutions and transform lives. We are expanding our focus to fragile contexts because, although they are difficult places to work, they are also where the most vulnerable children increasingly live. By 2030, it is estimated that 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor will live in fragile contexts.

As one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world, we have the infrastructure, experience, and relationships needed to bring about lasting change. With more than 65 years of fieldwork, we are making fullness of life possible for children and families.

World Vision has 42,000 staff worldwide who work in nearly 100 countries; 95 percent of our staff work in their home regions. Our long-term presence in communities, the trust we establish, and our integrated community development model enable us to address the many of the root causes of poverty.


Our work includes four main steps:

    • Listen: We start by following Jesus’ example of coming alongside communities and listening to their unique challenges and needs. We sit down with children, families, churches, and community leaders. Do they need clean water, better schools, a dependable supply of food, basic healthcare, or local jobs? What opportunities do they see?
    • Develop: Next, we work with the community to develop five-year action plans that address the root causes of their poverty and help bring fullness of life for all.
    • Act: Then we help them put it into action. We work with their existing leaders and empower new ones, bringing the community together to address the needs they’ve identified. And if the action plan isn’t working as well as it should, we go back and revise it. This helps communities get what they need such as healthcare, education, clean water, nutritious food, and economic opportunity.
    • Train: We also train them so they know best how to care for and grow these new resources for years to come. When the community has grown healthier, safer, and more self-sustaining, then we transition out and move on to the next community in need. By now, the community is a better place for children to live and grow, they are more equipped to handle emergencies, and they can help their neighbors.


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It’s that time of the year when your child comes home from school with a runny nose, a cough, and complaining of a sore throat. Children everywhere get colds and coughs, and they don’t always have access to a pharmacy or medical care. Find out what people around the world do for natural remedies to colds, coughs, and the flu.*

1. Hot tea to soothe throats and relieve congestion

Home cold remedies around the world include drinking various types of hot tea.
Hot tea and hot milk are used around the world to help soothe and fight coughs and colds. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Hot liquids help relieve congestion, soothe the membranes of your throat and nose, and keep your body hydrated, which is necessary to fight viral infections. Here are some variations on soothing tea to fight colds and coughs.

  • Passion fruit and onion tea — The Dominican Republic
    Cut two passion fruit and one medium onion in half and boil them together in about 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, leaving only the liquid. Sweeten it with honey.
  • Ginger tea — Cambodia
    Boil water and add powdered or fresh ginger. Let it steep before drinking.
  • Garlic tea — Mexico
    In rural Mexico, families prepare a hot beverage, like lemon tea, and add lots of onion or garlic. It doesn’t taste the best, but it does fight infections.
  • Cinnamon tea — Mexico
    In urban Mexico, a standard treatment for colds is hot water mixed with cinnamon and honey.
  • Golden milk — India
    Bring a cup of milk to a simmer, then add a teaspoon of turmeric. Mix before drinking.
  • Lemon leaves — Mali
    Boil lemon leaves and mix the hot liquid with a little sugar.

2. Honey to fight coughs and infections

Home remedies for colds around the world include the use of honey.
These 1-gallon jugs of honey are not only a source of income but are also used to boost children’s health. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

Honey is a natural cough treatment. In fact, studies have found that honey is equally as effective compared to a common cough suppressant ingredient. Honey also has antibacterial properties that can fight infections.

  • Spicy honey — South India
    Sprinkle powdered ginger and black pepper on a spoonful of honey. Lick the spoon clean.
  • Honey and shallots — The Dominican Republic
    Fill a glass jar with honey and sliced or whole peeled shallots. Let it sit for a while to absorb. Then, eat a tablespoon of the honey three to four times a day. Some even eat the onions.
  • Honey tea — Ghana
    For a simple remedy, mix some honey in warm water.
  • Blended radish and honey — The Dominican Republic
    In a blender, mix radish, watercress, and honey, preparing a couple cups at a time. Give a tablespoon at a time to help clear a cough and fight a cold.

3. Hot soups for cold and flu

Home cold and flu remedies around the world include various types of hot soup.
This chicken and vegetable soup is a favorite in Zambia to give children energy and protect their bodies. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Like hot liquids, hot soups work to clear congestion, soothe membranes, and deliver important nutrients to help your body fight an illness. Chicken noodle soup is a worldwide classic but try these hot soup variations as natural remedies against colds and flu.

  • Congee — China
    Congee is a traditional Chinese soup made from water or stock and rice, but with the option to add many different ingredients. Most people eat it for breakfast, but it is believed to be a healing food any time of a day.
  • Vegetable soup — Cambodia
    A simple broth with vegetables and a little spice.
  • Lugaw — Philippines
    Lugaw is a rice porridge cooked with ginger and chicken and is the comfort healing food of the Philippines.
  • Chicken and vegetable soup — Zambia
    This “Go, Grow, Glow” soup can be made vegetarian but either way offers protein and foods to boost energy and protect from disease.

I remember when I was young, when I got a cold, my dad cooked vegetable soup for me and he encouraged me to have it while it was still warm. It made me sweat. I felt so much better and gained energy after having it.—Ratana Lay, World Vision staff and mother, Cambodia

4. Alternate treatments for colds and flu

Home cold remedies around the world are often invented because people lack access to medicine.
In Uganda, these medicinal herbs are mixed with water to treat coughs. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Besides drinking or eating, there are a few cheap and easy cold and flu treatments that can alleviate symptoms and help children recover from colds and the flu faster.

  • Sleeping remedy — Mexico
    To help children sleep with a cold, run a hot iron on your child’s bed sheets, making the bed nice and toasty. Then put Vicks VapoRub on a child’s chest and cover him or her with blankets. They will sleep better and sweat out the cold.
  • Foot bath — Cambodia
    Put hot water in a bucket and soak your feet in the warm water.
  • Shea butter — West Africa
    Apply shea butter on the nose of a child to relieve congestion. This can especially be helpful for sick babies and is a favorite remedy in multiple African countries.
  • Herbal steam — Zambia
    Using an herb called Mayani — it smells like mint and is known for its expectorant qualities — sit under a blanket with a pot of recently boiled Mayani leaves and let the steam mist over the face and chest. You could also substitute eucalyptus oil or menthol in hot water.
  • Onion — Ghana
    Peel an onion, cut it in two, and place on either side of a child’s bed. The onion absorbs toxins and germs and is thought to purify the air.


Claudia Martinez, Ratana Lay, David Munoz, Annila Harris, Collins Kaumba, Joelma Pereira, Robert Vesleno, and Marion Roberts of World Vision’s staff contributed to this story.

*Please note: This is a compilation of folk remedies, not professionally tested medical treatment. No representations or warranties are being made about the efficacy of any remedy listed.  They are not a substitute for medical consultation; when in doubt, please check with your health care provider.

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Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest hurricane of 2012 and one of the most destructive hurricanes in history to hit the United States. Toward the end of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy plowed through the Caribbean — killing 75 people before heading north. As it approached the East Coast, it produced the highest waves ever recorded in the western Atlantic, causing devastating storm surge and floods throughout coastal New York and New Jersey. At one point, Sandy engulfed a swath of 800 miles between the East Coast and the Great Lakes region.

Also called Superstorm Sandy, it caused $70.2 billion worth of damage, left 8.5 million people without power, destroyed 650,000 homes, and was responsible for the deaths of at least 72 Americans.

Hurricane Sandy timeline

October 22, 2012: Sandy begins as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea.

October 24, 2012: Sandy develops into a Category 1 hurricane and hits Jamaica with winds of 80 mph.

October 25, 2012: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, then travels to Haiti and the Bahamas, killing 54 people in Haiti, 11 people in the Dominican Republic, and two people in the Bahamas.

October 26 to 27, 2012: Hurricane Sandy alternates between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical storm, then returns to a Category 1 hurricane.

October 28, 2012: Still a Category 1, Hurricane Sandy moves parallel to Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast of the United States as a Category 2, then weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.

  • 12:30 p.m.: Sandy brings high winds and drenching rain from Washington, D.C., northward.
  • 8 p.m.: Sandy comes ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey, with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph. In combination with a full moon and high tide, a 14-foot wave surge in New York Harbor tops the seawall in lower Manhattan and floods parts of New York’s subway system and a crucial tunnel. It downs power lines, uproots trees, inundates Manhattan, and causes extensive damage in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Heavy wind and rain continue all night through three tidal cycles.

October 30, 2012: Sandy moves away from New York, toward Pennsylvania, but is still drenching the Northeast.

October 31, 2012: Sandy dissipates over western Pennsylvania, leaving heavy snow in the Appalachian Mountains.

FAQs: What you need to know about Hurricane Sandy, and learn how you can help

Explore frequently asked questions about Hurricane Sandy, and learn how you can help families impacted by hurricanes.

Fast facts: Hurricane Sandy

  • 147 people died
  • $70.2 billion worth of damage
  • 8.5 million people lost power
  • 650,000 homes destroyed
  • Record-breaking storm surges flooded New York and New Jersey


How did Hurricane Sandy develop?

On Oct. 22, 2012, over tropical ocean waters off the coast of Nicaragua, Hurricane Sandy began from a tropical wave that developed into a tropical depression, then quickly into a tropical cyclone. Two days later it became a Category 1 hurricane with winds stronger than 74 mph.


Where and when did Sandy make landfall?

Hurricane Sandy first made landfall in Jamaica as a Category 1 hurricane on October 24, 2012. The next day, it wreaked a path of destruction through Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.

On Oct. 29, 2012, Sandy made landfall over the U.S. near Atlantic City, New Jersey, with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph.


How many people died from Sandy?

The number of deaths from Hurricane Sandy, such as drowning in storm surges or flooding, is counted at 147, according to the National Hurricane Center. Death counts in the U.S. totaled 72. Haiti was the second-most affected country with 54 deaths.


What was the damage from Hurricane Sandy? Is it one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history?

Hurricane Sandy is now the fourth-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, damaging at least 650,000 houses and causing $70.2 billion worth of damage. When Sandy made landfall in 2012, it was the second-costliest hurricane to hit the United States since 1900, with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 being the costliest. Both Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 have since topped Sandy.


How can I help children and families affected by disasters?


What was World Vision’s response to Hurricane Sandy?

Haiti: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, World Vision staff in Haiti distributed nearly 6,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 jerry cans, and 2,500 hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince. In the far south of the island nation, 100 families received T-shirts, sleeping mats, and blankets. Hot meals were also provided to 200 families in shelters in La Gonave.

United States: As Hurricane Sandy moved away from the East Coast, World Vision sent relief teams to assess the damage. Teams surveyed areas in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

World Vision targeted the most impoverished and vulnerable communities in each state and supported local partners — such as churches and community groups — to facilitate clean-up efforts.

World Vision had pre-positioned emergency supplies to help with the relief effort, including flood clean-up kits, food kits, and hygiene kits. Additional supplies were trucked from World Vision’s domestic disaster warehouse in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Initiatives and accomplishments of World Vision’s Hurricane Sandy response included:

  • 49,335 people served
  • $2.49 million worth of relief supplies and materials distributed
  • 1,534 volunteers hours
  • 9,904 blankets distributed
  • 9,001 hygiene kits distributed
  • 1,700 flood clean-up kits distributed
  • 5,168 students and 398 teachers provided school supplies through a mobile Teacher Resource Center


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On May 20, 2013, one of the deadliest tornadoes in Oklahoma’s history raked a 14-mile path of destruction through the southern areas of Oklahoma City and decimated the city of Moore, causing $2 billion worth of damage. It flattened one elementary school, where no fatalities occurred, then hit another school, where a wall collapsed and killed seven children. The Moore, Oklahoma, tornado was categorized as an EF5, a rare twister packing estimated wind speeds greater than 200 mph. It killed 24 people and created a swath of destruction, including 300 demolished homes.

Less than two weeks later, the largest ever-recorded tornado — coupled with severe rain and flooding — struck central Oklahoma and caused further damage and loss of life, killing nine during the tornado and 14 people in the flooding.

Brief history of Oklahoma tornadoes

Oklahoma typically experiences around 60 tornadoes a year. It is part of Tornado Alley, a nickname for an area in the southern plains of the central United States, where tornadoes are common. Most tornadoes, about 77 percent, don’t cause death or widespread damage. On occasion, the strongest tornadoes strike heavily populated areas and wreak devastating destruction.

1947: The deadliest tornado in Oklahoma’s history struck on April 9, 1947, killing 116 people and injuring 782 after killing at least 69 people in Texas.

1999: On May 3, 1999, a series of nearly 60 tornadoes struck central Oklahoma within 24 hours, largely in the southern metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City, including Moore. One of these, the Bridge Creek–Moore tornado, killed 36 people, destroyed 1,800 homes, and damaged another 2,500 homes.

May 20, 2013: The 2013 Moore tornado followed a path similar to that of the 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore twister. After three days of severe weather, several supercell thunderstorms developed. One of these produced a tornado that touched down in Newcastle and rapidly turned violent. For 40 minutes, the tornado tracked a devastating path through Newcastle, Moore, and southern Oklahoma City, damaging two schools, destroying 300 homes, and claiming 24 lives.

May 31, 2013: Additional tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, including the largest ever recorded tornado — the El Reno tornado, which stretched 2.6 miles wide and killed nine people. This tornado stirred up accompanying tornadoes and storms that caused flash flooding, killing 14 people around Oklahoma City and compounding recovery efforts.

FAQs: What you need to know about the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma, tornado

Explore frequently asked questions about the deadly tornado, and learn how you can help people affected by similar disasters in the U.S.

Fast facts: The 2013 EF5 Moore tornado

  • Touched down in Newcastle, near Oklahoma City, at 2:56 p.m. on May 20, 2013
  • Traveled 14 miles, mostly through the densely populated city of Moore, Oklahoma
  • Spanned 1.1 miles in width
  • Lasted 40 minutes
  • Killed 24 people
  • Completely destroyed 300 homes
  • Caused $2 billion worth of damage


How and where did the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado start?

Two days of storms turned into several supercell thunderstorms. One of these thunderstorms with strong updraft winds soon turned into a tornado that first touched down in Newcastle.


How much damage did the Moore tornado cause? How many people died?

The Moore tornado caused $2 billion worth of damage in the city of Moore and killed 24 people. It wreaked major destruction on two schools and 300 homes.


What was the El Reno tornado?

Only 11 days after the EF5 Moore tornado, the El Reno tornado, measuring 2.6 miles wide, struck central Oklahoma. It was categorized as an EF3, but its width was the largest ever recorded. It killed nine people in their cars and caused widespread flash flooding that killed 14 more. This flooding also hampered relief efforts in Moore, Oklahoma, and caused additional damage.


How can I help people affected by disasters in the U.S.?

  • Pray for children and families impacted by disasters.
  • Give to provide life-saving aid and relief supplies to survivors of U.S. disasters like the devastating Moore tornado.
  • Volunteer to help World Vision respond to disasters or assist communities in the U.S. with disaster preparedness.


How did World Vision respond to the 2013 Oklahoma tornado?

Within 24 hours of the deadly tornado on May 20, 2013, World Vision staff arrived in Moore, Oklahoma, with a 53-foot trailer carrying emergency supplies, including food kits, hygiene kits, diapers, blankets, cleaning supplies, and tarps.

Within weeks, World Vision was working with local partners, including churches and schools, to provide school supplies and other essentials — clothes, shoes, toys, and household goods — to help families begin to return to normalcy.

Soon after that, World Vision brought building materials — roofing materials, insulation, faucets, and more — to local partners to help the most vulnerable families rebuild their homes. Altogether, more than 15,500 people benefited from World Vision’s assistance.


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