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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Solving poverty begins with seeing what is present, not what is missing.


Words used to describe poverty often focus on what is not present: clean water, food, education, health care, and opportunity to name a few of the most common descriptors.

Describing poverty based solely on what is not present detracts from what is present: people.

People are central to a meaningful understanding of poverty.

Clean water, while essential, cannot love a family member, friend, or community, but people can.

Education, often a perceived guarantee of future success, cannot enable survival in impoverished circumstances, but the minds of people who have battled poverty their entire lives can.

People, including those among us who live with poverty, are capable, smart, and able to create transformation in their own lives and communities.

In short, to understand poverty and do something about it that is meaningful and long-lasting, we need to see what is present: people.

Focusing only on what is not present, especially in terms of resources like clean water or food, can inadvertently detract from what is present: people who will create solutions to their poverty.

In the end, people solve poverty – people like you who help, and people who are working hard to lift themselves out of poverty with the help you give.