Reading the comments posted to an ‘Help End Poverty’ article was always going to lead me to anger or inspiration. Online forums show the best and worst of humanity - this was no different. There is still a strong view that those in poverty just need to ‘harden up’ and ‘will themselves’ out of it. ‘They don’t need assistance - just a more positive outlook’. ’Aid doesn’t help, it just discourages self-reliance’. Nelson Mandela said that poverty, like apartheid and slavery is man made - it is not a natural human state. There are enough resources in the world, they are just not distributed equally. For people living in extreme poverty, thinking positively does not change the fact that they might live on the streets, have no food, clean water, shelter, light, or health care. In November 2012, 16% of Americans lived in poverty, in Australia 12.8% and these are considered wealthy countries. A parent can get sick and lose their job, be unable to pay rent or bills, get evicted, wait for months for medical care, have no money for food and end up on the streets or in an endless cycle of shelters along with their children. Poverty is not restricted to the developing world.
Approximately 1.2billion people in the developing world live in extreme poverty - under $1.25 per day, most of these being in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and around 50 million in Latin America. For the majority of these people, there is no Government welfare, homeless shelters, food stamps or public health care. Aid organisations, NGOs and their diaspora are the only hope. Poverty is not a choice, it is not caused by laziness, it can happen to people in all circumstances and you would hope like hell if it happened to you that there would be systems in place to protect you and your family. You would pray that there are people who care enough to see that it is not your fault and you didn’t choose this life.