Today is Peter Pan Day. Peter Pan is a fictional character in the children’s story by James Matthew Barrie. He spends his never-ending childhood on the mythical island «Neverland». Peter Pan represents the carelessness and innocence of childhood, having imaginary and very often violent adventures and being completely oblivious of real danger and sorrow. Peter Pan never changes and never grows up.
Growing up is such a barbarous business, full of inconvenience…and pimples.
Captain Hook from Peter Pan
In sharp contrast to this fictional figure, children in Kenya and Cambodia have no choice but to face the realities of adulthood already at an early age. In 2016, 41% of the Kenyan population was younger than 15 years old. This age group represents a mere 13, 14 and 15% of the total population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland respectively. Also in 2016, the average age of the Kenyan population was 19.5 years and the life expectancy was at 64 years of age. The low life expectancy rate is due largely to the spread of HIV and AIDS. This also means many of Kenya’s children are orphans. In 2016, the average per capita income of Kenya was at $3,400, i.e. a mere 6% of the Swiss average of $59,400. A huge part of the the Kenyan children face massive financial hardship and subsequently have to work to contribute to the meager household income. They do not have much time to enjoy their childhood and just be children. This is one of the main reasons why the Masai population continues to ask for the construction of safe havens such as nurseries and kindergartens for their children. Here you will find more information about the Smart Nurseries project.
*) Source: The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, U.S.