Poverty is a Lack of Hope
Poor people often lack hope for the future because they live in a lie. The lie of poverty, that is reinforced day-in and day-out is, “You don’t matter. You’re worthless.”
Whether in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda or Zambia, the poor in the world's poorest countries live in hopelessness...every day, in multiple ways.
Imagine not being able to provide enough food for your children or pay for a hospital visit when a child is sick or injured. Imagine the guilt, grief, and despair.
The poor are helpless in the face of war and natural disasters. When natural disasters and conflict occur, the poor suffer the most. They are unprotected, uncared for, and unnoticed.
Overcrowded urban areas where millions of the poor live in slum conditions increase the risk of disease and increase the death toll when conflict and war erupt or an environmental disaster hits.
Poverty often causes the poor to put pressure on their environment, and in turn the environment contributes to the suffering the poor endure.
Damage to the natural environment in which the poor live increases the impact floods and other natural disasters have. But "natural disasters" are as much a result of poor government, bad infrastructure, population density, rampant population growth and unequal living conditions as anything else. Extreme poverty helps create the disaster.
Limited access to sanitation and clean water lead to poor hygiene practices and more disease, which hinder the ability of the poor to work or attend school. And when someone more powerful takes advantage of them, from withholding wages or payments to trafficking a child, the poor are unable to pursue justice, for they lack the money and connections to do so.
Although girls are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking, exploitation does not discriminate based on gender. All of the world's poor are targets.
Despite this harsh reality, it's the feeling that you don’t matter, like your life will never get better, that is the most crushing and demoralizing aspect of poverty. It’s also why poverty reduction efforts and programs to lower the poverty rate must be holistic, reaching into every aspect of the human experience.