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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Poverty; a threat to all

It matters not whether we live in the developed world or the developing world, poverty threatens every one of us.

Here at home, poverty is often associated with a loss of dignity and a fall from the economic grace that many view as a birthright.

Among impoverished communities throughout Africa, Asia, and Central America, however, poverty can do more than take your dignity; it can take your life.

Children in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, are over 16 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed countries.

For the estimated 6.6 million[1] children under the age of five who perished last year, more than half died from causes that were completely preventable and treatable.

On the surface, the demise of these children may have been the result of pneumonia or diarrhea, but it was poverty, or more accurately, the inequality that breeds poverty, that all but ensured their fate moments after they took their first breath.

Wherever poverty is present, inequality likely arrived on the scene first.

Addressing poverty, compels us to look beneath the surface - past the symptoms, no matter how devastating and dramatic - to address the root cause.

On the surface, it appears that poverty is to blame for the torment and suffering families in the developing world endure every day. But upon closer inspection, poverty becomes merely a symptom of the root cause - inequality.

Every HOPE International Development Agency initiative, whether it’s clean water, disease prevention, education, skills training or increasing food production in a sustainable manner, gets to the root cause of the matter, addressing the inequality that allows poverty to persist.

As people, we’re at our best when equality is in our hearts and on our minds and inequality is viewed as an abomination. We’re at our worst, and most at risk of losing a dignity far more important than our perceived economic birthright, when we don’t act to reduce or eliminate the inequity that fuels poverty.

Addressing the root cause of poverty, not just the symptoms, is why HOPE International Development Agency exists and holds fast to the belief that the poorest of the poor can transform their lives, with a little help from you.

[1] World Health Organization, September 2013