Children & Poverty


What is Poverty?

Poverty is a complex problem with many aspects, faces and causes. Your donation helps meet the basic needs of children living in extreme poverty.

What is the definition of poverty?

The most widely held and understood definition of absolute poverty measures poverty strictly in economic terms — earning less than $1.90 a day. But the World Bank goes beyond the amount of money a person or family earns to expand the definition of poverty.

“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom.”

This poverty definition encompasses living conditions, an inability to meet basic needs because food, clean drinking water, proper sanitation, education, health care and other social services are inaccessible.

This poverty threshold starts with fear for the future and broadens to include dependence, oppression and even exploitation.

Because this larger measure of poverty expands the contributors and causes of poverty, the World Bank developed indicators to assess the non-income dimensions of poverty as well. The indicators include education, health, access to social services, vulnerability, social exclusion, and access to social capital.

Effects on Poverty on Children

When we think about poverty, we usually think economics. The poor are those without resources. In fact, The World Bank defines extreme poverty as, “living on less than $1.90 a day.” That equates to an annual income of $693.50 per year. That’s right – less than $700 a year.

The $1.90 figure represents the purchasing power parity (PPP) which is a metric used to compare relative purchasing power. Here in the U.S., it would be impossible to provide food, water, housing and medical care for a family on $700 a year. Just think: the average American family of four spends about $4,000 a year on food alone. And yet around the world – more than 900 million people have no choice. They’re struggling to survive on just $700 per year.

Poverty makes children especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, water-borne illnesses, exploitation and trafficking.

Poverty makes children especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, water-borne illnesses, exploitation and trafficking. It limits access to education and healthcare and worse it keeps them from opportunities to do anything about it. You can define poverty using economic terms – but it’s so much more than that.

If poverty really was just about the lack of resources, the solution would be simple: provide more resources. Problem solved. But, charity only helps in the short term – the fact is – long-term welfare actually makes the problem worse

Charity only helps in the short term.

Why? Because poor people begin to rely on the gifts of others and don’t gain or seek opportunities to help themselves, it’s a vicious cycle…And it tricks people in to believing the worst things about themselves. “You are worthless. You can’t even provide for yourself. You must rely on others and always will.”