What is poverty?

an example of a slum

poverty is not making enough or having enough income for a person’s basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. They may suffer from hunger, malnourishment, diseases or sickness, and may live in rural areas.In today’s world, poverty can also be extended to include access to transportation, healthcare, education.

some people who live in poverty may not necessarily always live in rural areas,(e,g slums, farms, ranches, villages), they also live in urban areas too. for example, locals in Hong Kong are homeless and living in poverty as the standard of living is very high and property prices are rising. since they allocate a lot of money to pay their rent, they might still live in poverty and not be able to afford basic needs although they live in an urban area.

hong kong housing issue(leads to poverty)

Causes of poverty

there are certain causes of poverty, and it may be the living conditions that one lives in, the infrastructure, or they were born in such a circumstance. we will look at the causes of poverty and how these factors and conditions affect people.

  • lack of infrastructure or poor facilities

Many rural areas, slums and villages do not have properly maintained facilities or infrastructure.For example, there are no roads, lights, internet, cables, and certain facilities, such as hospitals, schools, toilets. when there are no routes or way to get to urban areas, this can isolate communitties living in rural areas.you might have to travel far for basic facitlies such as to get food, water or healthcare.

travelling far not only takes time, it also costs money. Besides, you might not be able to make a living or get a job in areas with poor infrastructure, and this limits oppopturnity. Isolation limits opportunity, and without opportunity, families may find it difficult or extreme to escape poverty.

  • Little or no access to livelihood or jobs

Without a job or way to earn money for a person’s subsistence, people will face poverty. but this is aggravated in rural and isolated areas, as even though you may have the skills or knowledge for a specific job, you may not even get the opportunity to find the job in areas with poor amenities.

  • Poor education/ lack of literacy

children who are born in rural areas may not be able to go to school due to their family needing their children to work and not having sufficient money; or due to poor infrastructure that there is no school in their area.Although some boys can go to school, many parents don’t see a benefit in sending girls to school.

Education can be a life-changing event, as with education and knowledge, it opens doors to the outside world and to resources and skills, which is essential just not to help them survive, but to thrive.

students getting education in rural areas
  • Conflict and Inequality

conflict, civil wars, and unrest can cause poverty in certain ways. Civil wars, protests, and violence can destroy infrastructure, cause people to flee, forcing families to leave their jobs, homes, break up communities and social networks, increased unemployment and inflation.

Inequality means that certain people are discriminated and they are not treated equally as other groups of people.For example, some groups of people may be sexually or racially discriminated, and they do not get a similar chance as others, or they are looked down upon in the community.

  • Climate change

climate change like droughts, floods, severe storms, earthquakes disproportionely impact communitties living in poverty already, and when climate change leads to natural disasters, they have to take along their assets or leave them behind. Climate change impact rural areas and communities as most of them rely on the land for farming, hunting, gathering to make a living and bring back food.

Climate change disrupts livelihood, depletes food and water resources, forces families to flee from their homes, and may even cause them to lose their jobs.

a tsunami hitting a city(natural disaster)

How does poverty impact people?

  • 1. Basic necessities is a worry everyday

Poverty is not just having sufficient food or missing a meal daily. Families with poverty struggle with sickness, illnesses, food insecurity, hunger, and malnourishment. When families don’t have food, or they overwork themselves every day for little food, their health and livelihood suffer, and they might suffer severe health conditions later on.

if families are not able to break out of this poverty cycle, they will be trapped in a poverty cycle and this will repeat generation after generation. This might be why they say that one way out of poverty is education, or through life-changing opportunities like a stable job or starting their own business.

  • 2. education and schooling(learning)

If the first generation of a family falls into poverty, and it continues into the next, this could lead to a repeating cycle of poverty as this may mean that families do not have the money to send their children to school or need them to work. If the children are not educated, they cannot further their studies and have the opportunity to get a better job. Hence, education is important as it is a way to escape from poverty.

-quote by Nelson Mandela

for example, take this boy from Cambodia who is linguistic and knows 16 languages. He was selling things on a beach when a Chinese woman approached him. the boy was helping his family to earn a living and they were barely getting by. the video uploaded got popular and a wealthy Cambodian businessman took pity on them and helped to find them a new home, pay off their bills, and find his father a better job. China even offered him a scholarship to come to a school to study. Hence, education and publicity can change one’s life, given that they are willing.

multilingustic camobodian boy, Thuck Salik
  • 3. effects of poverty on health

without proper sanitation, amenities around their home, or in their house, children are especially vulnerable to life-threatening diseases such as diarrhea and intestinal infections. families who live in a properly constructed home with shelter and protection are less likely to fall ill to any diseases and are better equipped with the conditions to recover from any illness they might contract.

It goes without saying that the mental health of individuals and families is greatly improved when physical health concerns are taken away.

proper santiation and toliet amenties

How can we help those in poverty(solutions)

1.invest in high quality child care and free/subsidised early education

as mentioned many times in my previous points, education is a major barrier that prevents the poor from even reaching the middle class, and they will be stuck in a poverty cycle without opportunities or education. As the saying goes, the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. investing in education at an early age will give many more children opportunities and expand their horizons, and allow them to further their studies and graduate with a degree.in turn, when they grow up they will also contribute back to society and this can break the poverty cycle for a generation.

2.create more jobs/provide more job and equal employment opportunities

another way out of poverty is a well-paying and stable job.to kick-start job growth, the government should invest in job-creation strategies such as rebuilding proper infrastructure and facilities, renovating abandoned or poorly maintained housing, having programs that help or creates more jobs for people, and boost the national economy.

3.create awareness

to create awareness of poverty and make people more aware and known of it, we can publicize and create recognition of the impact and effects that people suffer from. for example, many businesses, associations, and funding programs around the world have hosted fundraisers in order to create awareness of the impact and to increase the general consciousness of the issue.

when there are more people aware of the issue, more will also be willing to help and start their own programs or institutions. Thus, there will be more opportunities for people living in poverty, and organizations and programs can reach out to help them, whether it be through providing food, jobs, building better homes and infrastructure, or education.

credits to these posts(sources):



Tagged :

Leave a Reply