How Can Organizations That Help Poverty Have More Impact?
Organizations that help poverty can have more impact by engaging more people in the facts around the issues and providing simple ways to be a part of the solutions.
Understanding poverty and its many-layered issues can be eye-opening for those in affluent countries, like the United States. Mark R. Rank wrote in The Washington Post that Americans in particular maintain five myths around poverty: it happens to people outside the mainstream; most of the poor live in inner cities; America’s poor can rise from rags to riches with hard work; poverty is the result of individual failure; and America’s poor are relatively well off.1 These Western viewpoints spill over into our understanding of poverty in other countries, but the truth is far from these myths.
Poverty can affect anyone and is present on nearly every continent and in most countries. The pandemic showed that a major societal shift like a lockdown can mean the difference between making ends meet and getting in line at a food bank.2 Poverty also does not delineate between rural and urban locations. For example, the poorest in a country in South Asia live mostly in rural areas because of the generational trap in which many become entangled.3
Because of American stories that show a rags-to-riches fairytale or the exhortation that hard work can overcome anything, it’s difficult for Westerners to imagine both parents working as many jobs as possible only to come up short-handed again and again. The truth is that for most of those living on $1.90 a day or less – the official designation of poverty4 – the path to a better life is complicated.
Take this scenario: A man and woman marry in rural Sri Lanka. They both come from illiterate families and are illiterate themselves, never having had the chance to attend school. Soon, they have children of their own. The man may work as many day labor jobs as he can find but still not bring in enough to meet basic needs. Without an education, he cannot find better-paying work. This may mean the woman must work, too, leaving small children alone and vulnerable during the day. There is very little hope that they can attend school to learn to read and write. If this family does not have access to clean water, they are all susceptible to waterborne illnesses, and if they are sick too often, they cannot work to bring in what little income is available. Situations like this lead to child labor or child marriage for girls. And the cycle starts all over.
With so many factors going against a family, this is where GFA’s child sponsorship program can make the biggest impact. For just $35 a month, you can sponsor a child and help address many of these issues. GFA provides community-wide solutions the provide help for children and their families, such as education assistance, nutritious food, access to clean water and household items that can ease a family’s finances. Each of these simple provisions helps to lift the family one step closer to ending the poverty cycle. You can be the one to help a child and his or her family’s situation and know that your gift is a daily solution to multidimensional poverty.Learn more about poverty organizations
1 Mark R. Rank. “Five myths about poverty.” March 26, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/5-myths-about-poverty/2021/03/25/bf75d5f4-8cfe-11eb-a6bd-0eb91c03305a_story.html.
2 Mark R. Rank, “Five myths about poverty,” March 26, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/5-myths-about-poverty/2021/03/25/bf75d5f4-8cfe-11eb-a6bd-0eb91c03305a_story.html.
3 Tonmoy Islam, David Newhouse, and Monica Yanez-Pagans. “International comparisons of poverty in South Asia,” p. 6. Asian Development Bank. 2021. https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/689686/adr-vol38no1-poverty-south-asia.pdf.
4 Poverty Topic Overview. The World Bank. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty.