How to Break the Cycle of Poverty

When considering how to break the cycle of poverty, there are many key elements. One key element is overcoming the poverty mindset that may cause someone to resign to the belief that their present circumstances will always remain, while another is having the support to boost one out of what could be a deeply entrenched cycle.

Millions of children worldwide inherit poverty, and often the poverty mentality that comes with it. Education and instilling positive values are critical in this process of uprooting poverty. With an education and empowering ideas, suddenly the horizon holds incredible opportunity for these young people.1

For example, through GFA World’s child sponsorship program, impoverished children—many of whom are stuck in generational poverty—receive practical help and support with value-centered education.

This helps children “become well-rounded, capable, confident adults.”2 Children who once had no dreams beyond survival are infused with hope for their future. They dream of becoming professionals like teachers, police officers and dentists. And they are equipped to pursue and achieve such dreams.

In addition, the program alleviates the financial burden of families, as necessities such as food provisions, school supplies and medical checkups are offered freely according to the specific needs of the community. A scarcity mindset often causes people to focus on immediate needs to the detriment of long-term outcomes.3 For instance, parents may keep children out of school to feed them today, withdrawing them from tomorrow’s possibilities and the greater good they could achieve with an education. This type of support helps parents, who may be struggling below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, to care for their children and ensure a solid foundation of education that will help break generational cycles of poverty.

Similarly, an income-generating gift such as a goat, chicken, sewing machine or fishing net can empower families to earn sustainable incomes.

Every year since 2006, GFA World has distributed thousands of such gifts to families in need. The results have been life changing.

For Raziyah, a pair of goats from GFA workers transformed her home from one overwhelmed by anxiety to one abounding with joy. The goats quickly multiplied and enabled this widow to provide for her two young children. She could properly feed and clothe them and send them to school. Her children would have a better future because of these bleating lifelines out of poverty.4

Sometimes families entrenched in a generational cycle of poverty simply need a little help to boost them out of that trench. With beneficial ideas, education and support, these families have hope to break out of cyclical poverty and the poverty mentality that often accompanies it.

1 Psarris, Emily. “Fighting Global Poverty with Ideas: Uprooting poverty requires education that transmits values.” GFA World. October 14, 2020.
2 Psarris, Emily. “Fighting Global Poverty with Ideas: Uprooting poverty requires education that transmits values.” GFA World. October 14, 2020.
3 “Heshmat, Shahram, Ph.D. “The Scarcity Mindset: How does being poor change the way we feel and think?” Psychology Today. April 2, 2015.
4 “A Widow’s Bleating Blessing.” GFA World. December 2020.