World Cup 2014: "[W]hen you help other people, then God will give you double."
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.
By Bianca Brown
Thursday, June 26: USA v. Germany; Portugal v. Ghana; Korea v. Belgium
Today in the World Cup, USA takes on Germany, Portugal plays Ghana, and the Korean Republic goes head to head against Belgium. Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to lead his team against the equally intimidating Ghanaian fielders. The Belgian team will no doubt have elaborate tactics to go up against the emerging champions of Korea. As the tournament continues, we continue to look at poverty in the World Cup participant countries, and efforts to end it.
According to the most recent data available, 18 percent of households in Portugal live beneath the poverty line. As a child who was born into poverty, Cristiano Ronaldo relates to his country’s epidemic, and often shares his story of how he comes from a poor family and had a childhood with few luxuries. Last month, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece that delved into his charitable works, from paying for a young fan's brain surgery to using his fame and wealth to help tsunami victims. "My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double," Ronaldo said in a recent interview. "And that's what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more.
In the Republic of Korea, 45 percent of people over the age of 65 in the country live in poverty, according to 2013 data. Many remarkable efforts have been made to eliminate the level of poverty and hunger in Korea, but without continued external humanitarian assistance, more than one-third of the population will continue to experience food shortages. The Korean government is emphasizing the implementation of food security and rural development in addition to providing education opportunities to promote gender equality.
The government believes that through successful implementation and completion of these goals, the national plans to end poverty will ultimately improve people’s quality of life and achieve a greater state of prosperity for Korea. While there is much hope for this country, the struggle against poverty and hunger persists.
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