Poverty FAQs

Why is reducing extreme poverty is a massive challenge? Groups around the globe approach the issue in a variety of ways, the most common of which is by providing education. A strong, multifaceted link bonds poverty and lack of education,1 so experts around the globe are attempting to bring education into poverty-stricken areas.

But even with academic lessons and increased school attendance among low-income families, children will be short-changed if in the end they don’t gain the ultimate endowment: ideas and values that empower them to thrive.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”2 According to Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”3

E.F. Schumacher writes in his influential economics book Small Is Beautiful,

E.F. Schumacher
Photo by The Schumacher Institute

“The task of education would be, first and foremost, the transmission of ideas of value, of what to do with our lives. There is no doubt also the need to transmit know-how, but this must take second place, for it is obviously somewhat foolhardy to put great powers into the hands of people without making sure that they have a reasonable idea of what to do with them.”

“When people ask for education,” Schumacher continues, “they normally mean something more than mere training. … I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them.”4

Why do ideas and values matter so much? Because they have the power to transform the world—to uproot global poverty.

Concepts like honesty, diligence, respect, compassion and valuing human life are widely acknowledged as good—yet in many communities around the world these values are not being demonstrated or taught to children. When one individual has a foundation of beneficial values like these, he or she can impact other lives, from their own family to the entire world. 

Schumacher defined education’s primary purpose as being the transmission of values.5 Positive values and ideas make a significant impact on one individual, and global change is impossible without changed individuals.

Generational Poverty

What is generational poverty? It’s a treacherous cycle that goes on for generations. When poverty continues for more than two generations in the same family, this cycle has been initiated. Those who grow up in poverty are more likely to bring poverty into their adulthood.

Adult Literacy

Why is adult literacy important? Adult literacy is a primary factor in the fight against worldwide poverty. When adults are unable to read, it impacts their daily lives. They can’t read medicine bottles, road signs, legal papers, ingredients, menus, and so on.

Poverty Organizations

There are many poverty organizations tackling the causes and results of poverty around the world. These organizations focus on different missions and purposes. While the basic definition of extreme poverty is earning less than $1.90 a day, the economic definition is only a portion of the equation.

1 Psarris, Emily. I. Gospel for Asia. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/solutions-extreme-poverty-line-poor-impoverished/#poverty-line-solutions. November 15, 2018.
2 King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Morehouse College). The Purpose of Education. Stanford University. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/purpose-education. Accessed March 2020.
3 https://heartmindonline.org/resources/kim-schonert-reichl-why-educate-the-heart
4 Schumacher, E. F. Small Is Beautiful. Harper & Row, 1989.
5 Schumacher, E. F. Small Is Beautiful. Harper & Row, 1989.