We started a conversation last week about a growing number of people receiving a good income but failing to meet all of their expenses and during that conversation I suggested that I would love to talk about poverty in general both here in Australia and overseas in 3rd world countries. I am actually going to talk about the two together because although the situations are very different I think the solutions could be very similar.
Please, again I want to let you know that I mean no judgment to those struggling on very low incomes, in fact I have the greatest respect for you and I think that we all need to be aware of your plight and what it takes to move away from that. I am constantly inspired and challenged by those who rise above their circumstances to better their lives.

So now to improving our understanding of poverty…
When we think of poverty in Australia we usually think that more money is needed. We have spoken before on this blog about the fact that money is never the answer – so in this instance is that still the truth?

Well I certainly think that some money is needed but I don’t believe it is only money that is needed –
Let’s flip over to the very sad plight of children in Cambodia, rummaging on rubbish dumps to find something of value so that they can sell it to buy food for their families – How do we help them? We see the greatest need in countries like Cambodia is education. We believe that education will break the cycle of poverty. So sponsorship programs have been set up where we sponsor a child. Our money goes to provide a bag of rice for the family so they can eat. This in turn releases that family to send that child to school and so we provide schools.

Now flip over to Africa and let’s see how we help the poor in that country. We provide clean running water, toilets etc and education on personal hygiene and how to grow their own produce so they can learn to sustain themselves.

Do you see that there is a partnership going on here? – yes money is needed to provide basic needs but we also look at what will help the situation long term.

Shouldn’t we be caring as much for the poor in our own communities – yes give them the money they need for the period of time they need it but also let’s provide education and a coming alongside of to help them understand how this fast paced world is moving. Many of them do need re-education. Many of them need help understanding how to manage their money so that they can move forward and not always be dependent upon society. Many of them have fallen prey to the credit system and need help overcoming that. Many have given up because they don’t see a way out and it has all become too hard.
There are a lot of issues that face those people who live in poverty and who have only ever lived in poverty and they are ill equipped to face the world in which they live.

Let’s take some time to really try and understand and if we know of someone who is struggling, let’s do all we can do to help alleviate that other person’s troubles. Let’s focus on our own communities as well as those struggling overseas.

Leave a comment – I’d love to hear your thoughts!