What are Some Solutions to the Poverty Cycle?
Of the millions of people living in poverty, many are entrenched in a cycle of poverty that is often passed down from one generation to the next. With a myopic focus on their immediate needs for survival, these individuals often “overvalue immediate benefits at the expense of future ones,” says Psychology Today.1 Additionally, poverty itself presents obstacles to a person successfully overcoming the cycle. In this complex, repetitive issue, what are some solutions to the poverty cycle?
A key factor in overcoming cyclical poverty is in changing the poverty mentality that often accompanies it.
Scarcity often leads people to believe that life as it is now is what it will always be.2 Not only does this poverty mindset keep them from dreaming of a better future, but it affects financial priorities in ways that can perpetuate its cycle.3 For example, parents may keep children out of school so they can work and provide extra income, not realizing education could provide an avenue out of poverty.
GFA World offers a solution for these parents in places such as Asia and Africa through its child sponsorship program.
The program offers practical assistance with things like school supplies, uniforms, nutrition, health care and hygiene products—which alleviates families’ financial burden and prevents child labor—and educational assistance. GFA program staff transmit positive values to the next generation, inspiring these young people to dream of a better future and giving them skills they need to succeed in escaping poverty and building better lives for their communities and future generations.
For adults, GFA World offers literacy and vocational classes as well as income-generating gifts such as sewing machines, fishing nets, cows, goats and chickens.
The skills and tools gained through these efforts empower men and women to provide a sufficient income for their families. No longer struggling just to survive, these families can break the cycle of poverty and offer better lives to their children.
For example, Kalman worked hard in manual labor, but he barely earned enough for his family’s basic needs.4 He couldn’t afford to send his children to school, which would give them a chance for a better future. Then Kalman received a piglet from a GFA gift distribution. The pig grew and quickly multiplied. He was able to purchase more livestock, which became additional sources of income. Now, Kalman has no trouble meeting his family’s needs or sending his children to school. He even gifted a pig to another family who was in need, helping them start their own financial breakthrough.
1 “Ending child poverty.” UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/eca/what-we-do/eHeshmat, Shahram, Ph.D. “The Scarcity Mindset: How does being poor change the way we feel and think?” Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201504/the-scarcity-mindset. April 2, 2015.
2 Matthews, Kayla. “What Is Poverty Mindset and How to Get out of Poverty Mentality?” https://catalystforbusiness.com/what-is-poverty-mindset-and-how-to-get-out-of-poverty-mentality/. May 7, 2020.
3 Heshmat, Shahram, Ph.D. “The Scarcity Mindset: How does being poor change the way we feel and think?” Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201504/the-scarcity-mindset. April 2, 2015.
4 “Generosity Leads to More Generosity.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/gift/stories/kalman/. October 2017.