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.

Helping the Poor

When you begin helping the poor, you are providing for someone in a tangible and potentially lifesaving way. Some of the poorest people in the world live in South Asia and Africa. Consider these options for how to help the poor and needy that are available through GFA World in parts of Asia and Africa.

Poverty in Asia

Poverty in Asia is a formidable issue. The World Bank states that 766 million people were living in poverty in 2013. Forty percent of those 766 million people live in Asia. That equates to 306 million people who are fighting to survive on less than $2 (USD) a day.

Poverty Mindset

What is generational poverty? It’s a treacherous cycle that goes on for generations. When poverty continues for A poverty mindset is a momentous obstacle to overcome in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Poverty and Education

For many impoverished children around the world, poverty and education are inextricably linked. Education offers an avenue out of poverty, but poverty often presents obstinate barriers to obtaining an education.

Causes of Poverty

Globally, 736 million people live under the poverty line, earning $1.90 a day or less. To address the various issues associated with poverty, it’s important to consider the many causes of poverty.

Solutions to Poverty

Approximately 736 million people in the world live below the poverty line, earning $1.90 a day or less. With destitute living conditions, they frequently also lack hope for anything better. Though the need is great, and the struggle intense, there are possible solutions to extreme poverty.

Bible Verses about Poverty

As the living Word of God, the Bible covers an array of topics essential to life, including poverty and how we should treat the poor. There are numerous Bible verses about poverty that give us insight into this subject.

Adult Literacy

Have you ever wished there was a great miracle cure for poverty? Literacy, especially adult literacy, has been labeled such a great miracle cure! Why? Several factors go into this distinction. The definition of literacy itself gives us several concepts to consider.

Poverty Mindset

In countries where generations of families have been under the thumb of poverty, a poverty mindset can be deeply ingrained and difficult to break. Education has been identified as one of the leading ways in how to break the cycle of poverty.

Causes of Poverty

The causes of poverty must be understood from every circumstance surrounding those most afflicted. Not one factor or deficiency can be wholly blamed for those living in the most desperate situations. If we are to solve the worldwide issue of poverty, every area of life that affects poverty needs attention.

Poverty Organizations

There is no one solution to the problem of poverty in this world. Poverty can be found on nearly every continent and in most countries at some level. Knowing what different poverty organizations do can help supporters choose how to join the fight against this thief of futures and well-being.

Functional Illiteracy

Functional illiteracy means that while an individual can complete basic reading and writing, their reading, writing and math skills are insufficient to navigate workplace and societal expectations. Adult illiteracy affects individuals, their families and their communities.

Numeracy Definition

A numeracy definition provided by National Numeracy is “the ability to understand and use maths in daily life, at home, work or school.” It is sometimes labeled as “mathematical literacy.”

Learn to Read for Adults

Functional illiteracy means an individual can only demonstrate simple reading and writing; their reading, writing and math skills are not enough to navigate jobs, marketplaces or health care. Illiterate adults have limited opportunities and understanding of society.

How Poverty Affects Education

The World Bank estimates that 689 million people (roughly 9.2% of the world) experience dire poverty. Poverty is an extensive, global concern that affects all aspects of a person’s life. Among other things, it limits children’s opportunities for safety and security and exposes them to illness, injury and violence.

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.