What do you value?

Consider two lives:

The first one is a girl, about 16, whose parents have just been laid off. Her family can no longer afford the house they were living in, which was located in a respectable neighborhood. They move out onto the streets, having gone through the trials of bankruptcy. Her father can’t handle it and abandons the girl and her mother. Her mother ends up struggling to support the two of them, and tries to find work where she can, making a menial income. The girl starts to fall behind in school, due to lack of sleep and food, while also trying to juggle jobs.

Now consider the same girl, but in a different situation. Her father receives a promotion, and her mother(working in the marketing industry), gets a hold of a very profitable project. Life continues to ride up, and they’ve moved from that respectable neighborhood to an even nicer one. Her days are spent hanging out with friends, shopping, maybe even taking some extra credit to boost her GPA above the 4.0.

Now, these two lives belong to the same person on two very different planes. But I have a few questions:

1. Is everyone at risk?

2. Is there a way to escape poverty?

3. Do people in poverty value things more?

To answer the first question, yes, I believe everyone is at risk. You could be less than a paycheck away from being out on the streets. Just a small drop in the economy, and you could be out of your house within a few weeks. It doesn’t take much. As seen in a European study, 24.5% of the population were ” at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This means that these people were in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.” And so sometimes, geographical locations can affect your future.

Is there a way to escape it? Escape implies being able to be free of it. I don’t really think that’s possible. Some people could be living in their own little world of poverty, maybe two Prada bags short of being good enough, or three meals away from hallucinations.

Do people in poverty value things more? I think so. Some may argue that your placement or lot in life doesn’t affect the worth of an object. And in some ways, that’s true. But just because the dollar amount doesn’t change, what about the worth to the individual? Some people adore oranges, others hate them. Some people insist on shopping at only the best stores that carry the best brands, and to some people brands don’t matter.

And so I have a question to the reader: Do you believe the risk is great? And if you were, or are, in a position to be labeled as poverty, would you(or do you) value things more.

Works Cited

Whelan, Christopher T. “Poverty in Ireland in Comparative European Perspective.” Social Indicators Research 95.1 (2010): 91-110. Web.

http://hdw.eweb4.com/out/1010445.html

Who do you really know?

How many people do you know who have suffered from poverty?

Just take a second to think about it.

Chances are, at least 4 individuals or families you know have or are suffering from it.

There are 1.9 billion children in the world. 600 million of those children are suffering from poverty. That’s 31.57%. “Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.”

Of the people I know, two families have been in situations where both parents of two children each were jobless at the same time, landing them in bankruptcy; one couple of three children had declared themselves incapable of paying their bills; one individual was homeless; and at least 12 people who I am in close relations with, will be working until they die, that is, if they don’t loose their job first.

There are so many people around you who are suffering right now, some are just better at hiding it than others.

So be careful what you say. Some things can be more offending than others.

“Poverty Facts and Stats.” – Global Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

Lost

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“Poverty damages. It damages childhoods; it damages life chances; and it damages us all in society.”1

You’re in your car driving down a street under a freeway pass. On the side of the road, under the cover of the bridge, a family sits enveloped in blankets, holding up signs that read, “HOMELESS: PLEASE HELP! Going through a tough time”. The traffic is slow and you watch as the man who is obviously the father walks up to car after car, asking for money. Eventually the traffic clears up, and you pull away, watching for a few more seconds as the family huddles together, trying to stay warm.

Poverty is damaging to everyone, and the children who are homeless or poor, suffer even more.

Statistics show that children from poorer backgrounds lag at all stages of education, and by the age of three, they are “estimated to be, on average, nine month’s behind children from more wealthy backgrounds.”1

They also suffer from physical health deficiencies, lacking in cognitive ability, and emotional and behavioral outcomes are worse.2

In addition, they are victims of undernutrion. Even with school help lunches, after and before are still a problem, as well as during breaks and weekends.3

Plus, the environments where the children grow up are generally worse in quality. Nearby playgrounds and play areas are vandalized, and the misuse of play areas and danger of injury are higher. 1

The children of these families didn’t ask for these lives. They didn’t get to choose where they lived or are living.

But they are still paying the price.

Works Cited.

Child Poverty Action Group. “The impact of poverty”, child poverty facts and figures. 2000-2014. Dec 7 2014. Web. http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/impact-poverty

  1. “Measures of child well-being”, Effects of income on child outcomes. 1997. Dec 7 2014. Web. https://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/07_02_03.pdf

American Psychological Association. “Hunger”, Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth. 2014. Dec 6 2014. Web. http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx

pov·er·ty

Google chooses to define poverty as “the state of being extremely poor” or “the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount”. The 1998 edition of the Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary defines poverty as the “lack of money or possessions” among other useless definitions.

Poverty isn’t something that can be defined by inked sentences on a page or explained through voices of royalty and the upper classes in society. It is something experienced. Poverty is not defined by the amount of possessions or lack of.

Poverty is an inaccurate word to describe an unfortunate situation that cannot be defined.

So what is poverty?  By my own definition in the best way I can define it, poverty is a state of being that differs from person to person. Out on the streets all alone, with few possessions. In a great house on the verge of bankruptcy, one dollar away from falling off the cliff into the ocean of distress. Or a mother with three children to look after, in a small home, but living happily. Inferior in the number of possessions in some cases, but greater in stature in the level of compassion in others.

Some people run into poverty like you might run into an old nemesis on the street, or run to it like a lover who is playing coy. Poverty can be taken on unwillingly, or with open arms. Or without warning by young runaways and children left out on the street.

In the simplest terms, poverty is to have less then is needed to maintain a stable life without worry of bankruptcy.

So how do you define poverty?

 

Provity

In case you haven’t noticed, this entire blog is dedicated to poverty. What leads to it, what it means to be in it, and just simply, what is poverty? As far as writing and posting goes, there will be some differentiation as far as style and presentation. Any offense is not intended, this blog isn’t meant to be racist or sexist, so try not to take any of my opinions to the heart. I will try to be as factual as possible. But this is a blog, and to completely avoid any kind of opinion would be next to impossible.

I will be answering a number of questions during the course of the next year. As well as reading, watching, and discussing books and movies on poverty. A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift; There are no children here, by Alex Kotlowitz; and Slumdog Millionare.

So please, comment and read. And enjoy if you can!

I’m Working

Two jobs, Three jobs, sometimes Four

Knocking Knocking on the door

Too late to hide, Too late to save

Her family from the streets and floor

Three jobs, Two jobs, One, no more

Retired

Relaxed

Not a care in the world

Three jobs, Four jobs, Five and more

No sleep No rest

No time to stop

Have to save my family

Have to keep them up

Have to hold the weight

Have to hold us up

Two jobs, One job, now no more

Have Five cars, Three houses

More More More

Five jobs, Six jobs, short low paying things

I can’t sleep

I have to keep

Working to save my family