I would like to introduce you to Aleck! A boy whose life has been transformed by the gift of a birth certificate.
Not long ago I wrote a blog about the importance of birth certificates (Hi, I’m Amy. What’s Your Name? ) and how they are the worlds way of giving us an official identity which can assist us in accessing all kinds of things that will improve our quality of life and allow us to live a life of choice. On one level is provides us with basic necessities such as citizenship in our nation. On another level is allows us to access systems that will enhance our standard of living. Education for example is something that in most countries you cannot enter into without providing a birth certificate but without education it is almost impossible to improve your circumstances in life. A birth certificate is a necessity and it is our human right to possess one.
Sometimes children end up without a birth certificate because they live in a remote area, without amenities such as public offices nearby and the nearest one might require a lengthy journey for the family to get there. Many people living in these remote locations don’t have the money for the transport to travel there and so its a luxury that cannot be afforded them. Yet birth certificates should not be viewed as a luxury. They are a necessity and word “necessity” by simple definition (1. the state or fact of being required 2. an indispensable thing) should never be misconstrued as luxury. However, for some people in the world a birth certificate is a document that is actually being withheld from them to prevent them from taking a place in their country. For instance Israel will not issue birth certificates to babies that are not born to Israeli nationals, and this is a law that applies to everyone from immigrants to diplomats. Equally an article was written by Houston Press revealing that Texas refuses to provide many babies with birth certificates due to their parents immigration status. A lot of these mothers were stripped of their national identity when leaving Mexico or Central America and as minors when they fled were not provided with electoral IDs when they arrived. These mothers have been living in Texas most of their lives and have given birth to their children in Texas, yet these children are denied birth certificates and because of that they cannot attend school. This is not just a third world issue we are talking about here. The problem is in full swing right in the midst of developed countries with highly organised governmental infrastructures. This is miles away from the UK system whereby everyone born is actually required to register their baby to receive a birth certificate, even if that baby was stillborn or lived only a short amount of time. Even the babies that don’t survive in our country are blessed with the gift of identity. We may have grumbles about our nation and its politics but we are truly blessed to live somewhere that values human life so much.
The reason I want to introduce you to Aleck is because I would like you to be able to see the impact a donation of a birth certificate (costing just £25) can make to a child. In my last blog I wrote about an organisation called CAFOD that allows you to sponsor these birth certificates and so after hearing that some of you who read that blog went onto sponsor a birth certificate I thought it would be lovely to share with you the impact this gift has.
Aleck is a boy from Zimbabwe who, like so many others, was born in his home, not a hospital, and so he did not receive a birth certificate upon his arrival into this world. Aleck’s father then passed away and due to circumstances the family were unable to get a death certificate for him (thats a whole other blog in itself hey??!) which meant that Alex’s mother could not get any of her children birth certificates. It is possible to try and get a birth certificate in Zimbabwe later on after the child is born but it requires a lot of documentation, travel and money, which for most families is a simple impossibility. So CAFOD were able to get involved and help deal with the issue of legal documentation and then, due to their birth certificate sponsorship, provide Aleck with a birth certificate. The article CAFOD has written on their blog says of the moment the certificate arrived:
His mother rejoiced when the vital certificate arrived:
“Finally my son can be counted as a person and can enrol in school!” she told us.
By sponsoring a birth certificate you are truly giving a child a life. A life with possibilities, a life with a future, a life with choice.
If you would like to find out more about the CAFOD birth certificate sponsoring scheme then please click here and if you would like to read CAFODs own blog article about Aleck then please click here. CAFOD have a whole host of other world gifts that you can donate so its well worth having a look at the link.
Taken from the CAFOD website:
What does CAFOD do?
CAFOD stands for the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. We are an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
We stand beside people living in poverty – whatever their religion or culture. Through local Church partners, we help people directly in their own communities, and campaign for global justice, so that everyone can reach their full potential.