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  • Keith Cobell

What is Poverty?


“In the developed world, our understanding of poverty is often based on what we see in our own country. However, even the poorest among us are in the wealthiest 30% of people worldwide. Impersonal stats are our most common window into life in extreme poverty, but what if we asked those in poverty to help us understand what it is?”

Compassion International wrote a blog that answers this question.

Scarcity – or the lack of basic needs: food, livestock, clothing, shelter – did come up, but it was not the top of the list.

Our understanding of poverty usually relates to economic terms. However, when those living in extreme poverty were asked to describe what that meant, DEPENDENCE was on the top of their list.

“The poor person always had to seek out others or to work for somebody else.”

I think this is something we can all relate to. How hard is it for so many of us to ask for help? How does it make us feel when we need to rely on others to help us, let alone to ask them to meet our basic needs?

Marginalization was second on the list. Those who are poor felt “alone” or “had no support.” They did not feel involved or consulted when decisions were made.

The way an organization or business chooses to operate can drastically affect the way a person feels about themselves and their circumstances. Extollo’s vision is to unleash the potential in the people we are working with. The potential that has been there all along!

This is done through elevating the local people into positions of leadership and responsibility; realizing their value and helping them to believe in themselves as well.

We can be poor in economic ways, but we all know that feelings of inadequacy, lack of community and relationships, and other socio-emotional needs are the things that truly make us feel poor.

Let’s all do our part to see those around us as equals and do all we can to encourage each other. Appreciate the value that each individual brings to our lives, organizations and workplaces, and encourage each other to live in a wealth of self worth and community.


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