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Focus on poor countries that actually need help

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Jason Mejia-Gutierrez, guest columnist

In the news these days is considerable talk about France, Belgium, Russia and other rich countries. There’s little focus on poor countries that actually need help, whether it’s with money, resources, food or security: countries such as Myanmar, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya and Somalia.

In Central America, countries such as Honduras and El Salvador suffer from poverty and violent crimes. In 2012, Honduras was named the most dangerous country in the world. Honduras had a murder rate of 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, most from gang-related crimes.

In the first two months of this year, about 1,400 people have been killed in El Salvador. But people don’t really notice. Because it’s not France or a rich country, people don’t really care.

In Eastern Africa, there is a country called Somalia. The country not only has terrorist groups attacking its own people, but many live in poverty.

Somalia has an estimated population of 12 million. About 82 percent of Somalis live in poverty. Overall, 73 percent of Somalis live earning $2 per day at the most. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrollment rates for school. Only 42 percent of children are in school. Of that 42 percent, only 36 percent are girls. Some children have to work for their family instead of going to school.

Myanmar, a country in Asia known as Burma, has a crisis of corruption. It is common in Myanmar to charge under-the-table payments for government services, to bribe tax collectors to save on your own tax payment and to bribe customs officials to avoid paying fees. But in Myanmar there isn’t just corruption in money. It’s also in political parties, import and exports and land ownership. Nobody notices it because it’s not a rich country.

Honduras, El Salvador, Somalia, Myanmar are only some of the countries we need to start focusing on and helping. Belgium, France, Germany, and Russia are countries that have money and people. But we focus on them so much because of our government’s financial interests that we forget about the countries that need help. Think about it.

• Jason Mejia-Gutierrez, 14, loves to play soccer.

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