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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Poverty forces people to make unthinkable choices

The impact of poverty throughout the developing world is devastating.

Families in countries like Bangladesh endure chronic hunger, illness, and homelessness, to name just a few of the obvious challenges people live with every day. And without the ability to break the cycle of poverty, generations of families have few options and even less hope as each year passes.

Over the next several weeks a new series of stories will explore a few of the less obvious, but equally devastating challenges faced by the families living in poverty. Many of whom are forced to make unthinkable choices they would never otherwise consider – all because of poverty.

We begin the series with Sujon. In a recent story, we learned how Sujon and his family became hopeful and optimistic about their future thanks to the support they received from friends of HOPE International Development Agency. The road that led them to this point, however, was not without its challenges and heartbreak.

Sujon’s heartbreak came on a sunny afternoon when he was 4-years old.

Today, 13-years later, Sujon still vividly remembers his mother saying to him, “Babu, I am going to buy apples for you.” At the time, he had no idea that these words were the last he would hear from his mother. She never returned – it was the last time he saw her.

The level of poverty and deprivation Sujon and his family lived in was simply too overwhelming for his mother and forced her to make an unthinkable decision – a decision she would never otherwise consider had it not been for poverty. Sujon’s mother felt that in order to survive she would have to leave her children and husband behind.

The impact of poverty is often obvious. But as you can see, what it does to a person’s heart and mind can be less obvious, yet equally devastating, as was the case with Sujon’s mother.

The entire situation was and is tragic. And although what happened to Sujon is rare, many families around the world lose a parent to the destructive forces of poverty.

When families live in extreme poverty, life is difficult beyond anything we can imagine. This is why HOPE International Development Agency works to enable families throughout the developing world to gain access to life-changing things like clean water, livelihood training, medical care, and education.

Having clean water, income, medical care, and an education make it possible for families facing unthinkable choices to make much better decisions than they would if poverty was not overwhelming their lives. They are able to make different decisions, together, with much better outcomes.

It is not possible to replace what Sujon and his family lost because of poverty, but it is possible to enable them to create a much better life for themselves – a life that is free from poverty and the unthinkable choices it forces.