What is poverty?
The World Bank describes it as “…a condition so limited by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality, and low life expectancy as to be beneath any reasonable definition of human decency.” This is called absolute poverty. Nowhere in this definition is mentioned the income of the person.
Below is a list of those countries which have more than 50% of their population living on less than $1 per day: The first % is under $2 per day, the second % is under $1 per day. These countries don’t have the luxury of a government paying out social welfare or unemployment benefits.
Yet many people living in industrialized countries including Australia would spend a dollar per day on lollies, chips, soft drink, comics or some non-essential item. But we still have people living in relative poverty. These countries work on a poverty line. This is the amount needed, per week, by two adults and two dependant children to supply basic living needs. These are the poverty line amounts for Australia:
- 1973 – $62.70
- 1983 - $212.70
- 1993 – $383.90
- 2003 – $562.10
- 2006 – $663.10
Source: Poverty lines March 2008 quarter
Why do families in Australia need $663.10 per week to live on, while over 90 % of the population of Nigeria live on less than $2 per day per family member or about $50 per week per family of 4?
What can we as a developed country do to help those people in absolute poverty? This includes the indigenous aborigines of Australia.
I decided when I was in college, training to be a teacher, that I could easily afford $1 per day to help another person in need. So since my very first pay check back in the 1970′s, I have sponsored a child through World Vision. I have helped children go to school, have clean water put in villages, allowed children to be immunized and helped women buy animals and plants to grow and feed their children.
Thinking about our schools, if there are 30 children in a class and 12 months in a year, if each child could donate $1 per month or $12 per year. It costs about $360 per year to sponsor a child, imagine the number of children, families, villages we could start leading out of poverty!!
This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty