The cycle of poverty is very real for many children worldwide.
Katy Perry, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, traveled to Vietnam last week to try and bring awareness to the plight of economically disadvantaged children who are left behind even as the country's economy grows.
"It was heartbreaking to meet a grandmother who was left to care for four grandchildren after her daughter passed away," said the 31-year-old singer. "The family lives off a bumpy path in a remote village in the hills, and one of the grandchildren, a 5-year-old named Linh, became severely malnourished. If a UNICEF-trained outreach worker had not come to the village, and made sure Linh got the care she needed, she might not be alive today."
"Linh is one of millions of children who face such challenges every day," she added. "That's something we should all be worried about."
Perry visited children in the Ninh Thuan province, which is one of the poorest areas of Vietnam.
"All the children I met have incredible dreams. We have to help them fight for those dreams. Investing in the most disadvantaged to give them a fair chance in life is not only the right thing to do, it is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and drastically improve children’s health, education and well-being," the Grammy-nominated artist said, advocating for the work the organization does in the country. "On my first day in Ninh Thuan, I visited a school that provides children with disabilities the support they need to thrive alongside their peers. I also visited a junior high school mainly made up of students from ethnic minorities who were empowered by the opportunity to have access to higher education."
The organization reports that in the hardest hit areas, half of children live in poverty and one in five do not attend school. Children from minority ethnic groups, the organization adds, face particular troubles with limited access to opportunities.
"UNICEF works to ensure that every child, urban or rural, rich or poor, has a chance to thrive, to grow and to contribute to their families and communities as well as to have the opportunity to shape the world that we live in," Perry noted.
Perry shared her UNICEF trip on Instagram last week, writing, "On. A. Mission. #UNICEF."