Increasing inequalities are deepening the rift between the countries of the Southern and the Northern hemispheres. The rich countries are exhausting the world’s resources and neocolonial and neoliberal attitudes are gaining ground, whereas the developing countries, particularly children in Asia, Africa and Latin America, are suffering not only from poverty, war, corruption or low levels of GNP per capita, but also from the philosophy of mercantilism of the industrial civilisation or from the values of modernism, which manifest themselves in materialism, egoism, chauvinism, positivism and intolerance. According to Erich Fromm, “Every human being participates in the decision about whether humanity has a future or not.” However, we all too often live a life of expedient economic rationality. We are far away from the ideal of a mutually supportive society and an ethic of responsibility for the poor and underprivileged of our earth.
Western cultures live in moral disorientation and industrial societies are dominated by the rituals of consumerism. Our society has been brainwashed with consumer values. Consumption is confused with happiness, power with fulfilment and prosperity with well-being. Only money, enjoyment, honour, comfort, status, privileges and prestige seem to be the fountain of eternal happiness and blessing. Being intoxicated by irrational mental needs and material desires as a compensation for their inner vacuum, people constantly chase after their personal fortune, whereas, in reality, they are in search of a spiritual kind of moral orientation, beyond all possessions and power, beyond all performance and efficiency.
Technological concepts framed by egocentric moral ideas and short-sighted national institutions, cannot resolve the humanitarian crises in the world’s poorest countries. What we need is perhaps a “humane and humanistic revolution” which re-establishes these basic values of mutual fairness and humanity, friendship, justice, solidarity as well as of sympathy and peace.
Most of the problems in this world are external manifestations of internal causes and, ultimately, of the limited perception of reality and thirst for knowledge. In order to change our personal values and morals in accordance with the global requirements, we must be courageous, energetic and creative. A profound transformation of our social conscience, empathy for the poorest of the poor as well as an intensification of our moral determination will be essential to build a better world, to provide needy children with basic education and future prospects and to give them a chance to live a more dignified life.
With the help of different kinds of information and aid programmes, European Partnership – Help for Schools in Need wants to help raise a moral sensitivity for the desperation of the children in the developing countries and to show concrete ways and means of achieving a lasting improvement of their living and educational conditions. Every human being has the right to a life of dignity as well as to elementary liberties and human rights.