Here's a partial list of things you can do, thanks to a piece of paper:
- Go to school
- Get a job
- Travel abroad
- Buy a home
- Get married
The list goes on. Each, directly or indirectly, requires proof that you officially exist. That proof is your birth certificate.
About 230 million children under age 5 do not have a birth certificate. Officially, they don't exist.
Their status profoundly restricts what they can do. At the same time, it lifts restrictions on what can be done to them. They can be more readily trafficked, abused and enslaved.
Much of the Catholic Relief Services work you support helps end the root causes of trafficking and other abuses. Education and protection for children enables productive futures. Agriculture and microfinance offer lifelong income security. We even work with governments to effect changes that increase opportunities for the poor.
One such urgent effort is before the U.S. Congress. It's called the Girls Count Act.
The United States Conference of Catholics Bishops and CRS strongly support this anti-trafficking effort. Its aim is to make sure children receive that all-important piece of paper: their birth certificate.
We invite you to take a few minutes of your life to offer children around the world a lifetime of opportunity.
Thank you for joining CRS in serving our poorest brothers and sisters in more than 100 countries.