In the U.K., the gap between the rich and poor is growing ever wider. The country's impoverished children are the most vulnerable victims of this divide. The documentary Poor Kids profiles the daily lives and observations of a handful of these children, and sheds light on an escalating epidemic of poverty that afflicts 3.5 million more kids just like them.
The families featured in the film can barely scrape together enough money to eat on most days, much less invest in the kind of recreational activities that every child craves and thrives upon. In place of jungle gyms and swimming pools, these children are forced to invent their own games of play in frequently in abandoned buildings and other unsafe areas. They live in some of the more than 1 million houses in the country that are considered unfit for occupancy. These mold-infested living quarters leave them susceptible to skin infections, respiratory issues, and an assortment of chronic illnesses.
The country is undergoing a severe economic crisis where jobs are increasingly scarce. The filmmakers embed themselves in some of the hardest hit communities, and focus their cameras exclusively on the children who are most severely impacted by this distressing reality.
These kids observe the struggles of their families on a daily basis, and they absorb the insecurities brought forth by a life spent in poverty. Will they still have a place to live the next day? Where will their next meal come from? What will happen when they outgrow their shoes or need new clothes? They witness the joys and luxuries afforded to children with working parents, and they long for a safe haven where they too can experience the freedom to live in their imaginations. But they're well aware of the starkness of their surroundings, and many of them are doubtful that a better life awaits them.
Poor Kids is crucial viewing because it provides an open platform to the oftentimes voiceless victims of poverty. Their insights are frequently moving and revelatory, and should inspire a sense of urgency among those who have the power to enact meaningful economic reform.