Day 59 of 10 week challenge: What is Poverty?

Posted: November 16, 2012 in Faith

The definition of Poverty is:  the deprivation of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs. Poverty can be understood simply as a lack of money, or more broadly in terms of barriers to everyday life.

I asked a few people what they thought poverty was and some of the responses were:

-Poverty is making less than 10 000 a year

-Poverty is having to live pay cheque to pay cheque

-Poverty is waking up under a bridge feeling hungry

-Poverty is depending on welfare for your daily needs

-Poverty is not having clean water, food, shelter and clothing

-Poverty is what occurs in third world countries

These are some pretty good answers. And each person has their own definition of what poverty looks like. I know many people who claim they live in poverty on a day to day basis. Most of these people have a car, house, mortgage and food so I wouldn’t exactly qualify them as living in poverty just because they can’t afford a steak dinner every night.

Here are some other oppinions on poverty, coming from people who have experienced it.

-Poverty is living in shame because you can not provide for your family

-Poverty is living without love

-Poverty is not having a voice

-Poverty is not having respect, being treated like a poor beggar or being treated like scum

-poverty is being ignored

-Poverty is not having honor.

How can you help those in poverty? Will giving them handouts be enough? Not likely, when one recieves a hand out it will provide them with temporary relief. Nobody likes to rely on others, it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Also those who rely on handouts will always expect them. Think about some of the third world countries where Missionaries show up to bless them with food, clothing and money. If these Missionaries keep showing up just to give out handouts the poverty issue will only be solved temporaily. Being blessed by things is very nice but think of the attitude the impoverished wil have “Oh we’ll just wait for nice rich people to show up next year again.”

But what happens when someone not only helps out those in povery but also provides resources to keep them out of this state. It’s the old saying “Catch a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.”

A group of missionaries show up to a town where there is a huge problem, everyday babies float down the river. The Missionaries continously go into the river to scoop out these babies and save them. It keeps happening and every day someone saves a baby in the river. One day a new missionary shows up, instead of getting into the river to help save the babies he begins to walk up the river. Someone notices and asks “Where are you going?” The man replies “I am going up river to find the people who are throwing these babies in the river and I am going to stop them.”

Getting to the source of the poverty or the issue and resolving it from the source. Instead of contsnatly giving out handouts find solutions. Some missionaries create jobs or opportunities. Some of my favorite organizations are the ones taht provide farm animals for people, provide clean water for people or provide mosquito nets for children in high Malaria areas. These are more permanent solutions to problems. Instead of sheltering Homeless people find them employment or provide some means of employment program for them. Instead of bringing clothing to poor nations, provide them with the tools to design their own so that they may not only have clothing but business opportunities as well.

The difference between Poor and Poverty is being poor means having less stuff than someone else, being in poverty means having less resources and opportunities.



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