GFA’s Work to Alleviate Global Poverty

Millions of people are stuck in a cycle of global poverty with no access to necessities like food, water, education, medical care or jobs. Poverty affects individuals, families and whole communities that are stuck without hope for their future. Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are two areas where extreme poverty is expected to increase, with an additional 32 million and 26 million people respectively falling below the global poverty line.[1]

GFA World national missionary outreach to a poor village

GFA World has missionaries in both Asia and Africa, giving them a stable foothold in these extremely poor areas, and these alarming statistics show just how vital its mission is. There are national missionaries in many countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar. Among the world’s poorest nations is one country in South Asia; of those in poverty worldwide, a third lives there.[2]

GFA missionaries serve people, families and communities, helping them to break out of the cycles of extreme poverty and sharing hope in Christ. National missionaries serving in these poor areas invest in the people around them, assessing their needs and how they can help change the course of their futures. Through prayer and counsel, the missionaries determine how they can bless the people and their area overall with practical assistance. This often includes providing gifts that produce income.

Animals like cows and goats can be used to pull carts and plow fields, and their milk may be consumed for food or sold as well. Chickens produce eggs to eat and sell, and their offspring can also be sold to produce more income. Besides animals, missionaries can give other income-producing gifts. Sewing machines allow men and women to work as tailors and other vocational training creates even more opportunities for the impoverished.

Other gifts make the community healthier and more able to work in the first place. These are basic needs like blankets, wells, water filters and proper toilets, which all decrease illnesses among the people, saving them money on healthcare and extending their ability to earn money. The pastors learn these needs, and figure out how to meet them. Gift recipient’s lives are changed as they are shown this practical help and are told about the Good News of Jesus.[3]

Raylea is one example. After her husband died, Raylea was left with nothing to support her children; the meager salary she had been earning did not leave much for her in the way of savings. Widows are considered cursed by many Asian cultures, believed to be the reason their husbands died, and therefore they are unlucky. So, there were not many opportunities for Raylea, and there was little hope for keeping her children fed and in school. Through a GFA Christmas Gift distribution, Raylea received the life-changing gift of two goats. Those two goats bred and created two more in the next year, and the year after that, there were three more goats added to the herd. The goats were the perfect gift. They took up little space and could survive on nearby shrubs and trees. They produced milk that was high in nutrients, which greatly enhanced Raylea and her children’s diets.

The goat meat was also very high in protein, which was incredibly vital in a region where protein was harder to come by. These items could also be sold to others, providing more income for the family. The goats allowed Raylea to feed and clothe her kids and provide them with school supplies, allowing education to open more doors for their future, and breaking the cycle of poverty. She was even able to donate a goat to the church that had led her to Christ.[4]

Every year, thousands of people receive these gifts around the world; poverty is difficult to escape without some outside help because of the self-perpetuating cycle.[5] GFA World provides that help with gifts like Raylea’s goats and through other avenues like GFA’s Child Sponsorship Program, vocational training, literacy training. All this is provided with the heart and love of Christ.

More and more people though, have fallen below the global poverty rate in the last few years and are living on less than the official level of $1.90 a day.[6] With that reality, it is even more important to help people break out of the seemingly endless cycle of poverty. It doesn’t take much to change the course of someone’s life and future. Impacting individuals can then elevate the whole community around them.

Consider partnering with GFA and our national missionaries in these areas. Our ministry, including income-generating gifts, clean water, and literacy training are part of the solution to end global poverty. This cannot continue without ongoing support from donors around the world. Even seemingly small things make a major difference.

Learn more about charities that help widows

[1] “Ending Poverty.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/ending-poverty. Accessed October 15, 2022.
[2] Thakur, Vipan. “Top 10 Major Problems in India.” LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-10-major-problems-india-vipan-thakur/. August 24, 2019.
[3] “Community Development.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/ministries/community-development/. Accessed October 15, 2022.
[4] “A Widow’s Bleating Blessing.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/a-widows-bleating-blessing-wfr20-13/. December 2020.
[5] Costas Azariadis and John Stachurski, “Poverty Traps,” Handbook of Economic Growth, 2005, 326.
[6] McComb, Bayley. “Talking about Poverty: What is the Definition of Global Poverty?” The Borgen Project. https://borgenproject.org/definition-of-global-poverty/. September 14, 2016.