The Shape of Poverty

“Where people are really attached, poverty itself is wealth” – Jane Austen

Poverty, its construct and the efforts to deliver its eradication, in the traditional forms, are described and pronounced globally by world banks, leaders and policy makers. Its living is experienced daily by those who survive on less than $1.25USD per day, by 1.3 billion people – 1 billion of whom are children. As we reflect on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17th 2017), we must imagine ourselves immersed in the daily lives of those who wake up each day with less than $1.59AUD and how we would feel, locate, manage and survive. Would we survive? Could we manage? Would we feel or just be?

Check Your Balances

As citizens of a world which is fast, driven by consumerism and connects (and disconnects) us every waking minute, we often find ourselves in the middle of the race with many different destinations. Too often, we are without pause for reflection on the various types of poverty which affect our friends, family, neighbours, peers and colleagues. Aside from financial poverty, there are countless other forms which challenge people daily including emotional and psychological disconnects and poverties. Many of us will continue on the race without checking our balances, aside from the banking one. Take a moment this month, wherever you are, and reflect, evaluate and check your balance. Check in with your friends and colleagues, assess how wealthy we really are and how we all can adjust our balances to be the richest we can be for ourselves.

Active Citizenship

When we explore the worlds of those living in financial poverty, we are overwhelmed by images which flash across our TV screens, ones which file through our letterboxes in times of crisis and tell us a story of hardship. As generous global citizens, we are compelled to give back. We give from our bank balances to those less fortunate to do what we can. We don’t need a thank you letter from the child we have helped or from the rural community who now has clean drinking water or the school that now has a roof again. We access our compassionate selves and our empathetic souls. This is global citizenship. We are active citizens in changing the construct of poverty, we are the hope for the billion children who wake up in poverty each day.

Giving can take many forms: a dollar; a child sponsorship; a pair of shoes or a meal but the outcome of this giving changes lives and enriches futures. It shows that we care. Caring and giving need not live as one, but together they can change the world. This October 17th, look around, reflect, be grateful and reach out to those who need us most. That person may live in a developing world, but they may also sit next to you in the office every day. Be mindful. Be aware. Be a champion global citizen. Be your best self.

John Patrick O’Sullivan
Moeloco, Policy Consultant

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