What Are the Major Causes of Poverty?

Asking “What are the major causes of poverty?” opens a complicated, interconnected web of answers that feed into one another: hunger, disease, inequality, war, all of these are related roots of poverty. And another contributing factor to poverty is lack of education.

In 2014, about 263 million children and teens were not attending school. As many as 70 percent of that number lived in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.[1] Poverty and lack of education are both self-perpetuating. An uneducated mother has fewer opportunities for jobs and therefore fewer resources for her children, so she cannot ensure they receive an education. Thus, another generation suffers from illiteracy and poverty.[2]

One such mother was Dayita. She lived in Asia with four children and an alcoholic husband, who became too sick to work or even leave his bed. Dayita had to become the sole breadwinner for her family, but she was illiterate, meaning the only option open to her was manual labor. Like many other illiterate women in her area, Dayita collected and sold firewood. It was difficult work that kept her away from her children for long periods of time, and it did not pay much at all. But it was all she could do. The trajectory of her children’s lives looked much the same. Finding enough food to eat consumed nearly every moment. School wasn’t something Dayita could even dream about for her children, and she could not teach them anything about math or the alphabet on her own. The four kids roamed the village under the “care” of the oldest, 7-year-old Kasni. Illiteracy and poverty were continuing, and there was nothing Dayita could do about it.

That was until a staff member from a local center for GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program met Dayita and her family. After learning about the family’s situation and struggles, the staff offered Kasni the life-changing opportunity to go to school. Through the program, Kasni learned skills that could empower her to eventually escape poverty: arithmetic, science, language skills, history, and even art, dance, respect and self-discipline. Kasni thrived and spread her joy to her family. Not only was she learning, but she also got a nutritious meal each day, easing some of her family’s financial burden. She received health-awareness education and checkups, and all her supplies were provided by the center as well. Special programs for parents even helped Dayita begin to learn and grow too.[3]

Dayita and Kasni are just one family impacted by the Child Sponsorship Program. Consider joining in this effort to address a piece of the “What are the major causes of poverty?” question. Over 75,000 children have already been impacted by this education, and it only takes $35 a month to help one more.[4]

Learn more about what are the causes of poverty

[1] “263 Million Children and Youth Are out of School.” 2016. Uis.unesco.org. November 18, 2016. http://uis.unesco.org/en/news/263-million-children-and-youth-are-out-school.
[2] Psarris, Emily. “Solutions to Poverty-Line Problems of the Poor & Impoverished.” GFA World. November 15, 2018. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/solutions-extreme-poverty-line-poor-impoverished/#poverty-line-solutions.
[3] Ibid.
[4] “Sponsor a Child with GFA World.” GFA World. Accessed June 19, 2023. https://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild/.