Poverty knows no race, no language and is not isolated to one country alone. It is in the most remote of villages and even in the most developed of cities worldwide.

Poverty can be barely meeting ends meet, being up to your ear’s in debt and not being able to pay the bills, and it can also be the extreme of not having the basic necessities of life, when I say basic I mean it; food, clean water or safe and clean shelter. Poverty leads to hunger, even the extreme of starvation, malnutrition, homelessness, the development of slums or ghettos, and often times creates habits that are passed on from one generation to the next, such as not attending school, early pregnancies, and in some parts of the world, child labour.

Growing up in poverty can create many problems for young kids; there is a higher school drop-out rate in poorer neighbourhoods, as well as not pursuing higher education such as University or College. They are also at greater risk of emotional and behavioural problems, such as low self-esteem and aggression. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to engage in sexual behavior earlier than their peers in more well off neighbourhoods, which puts them at risk of disease and infection and teenage pregnancy.

The causes of poverty vary from country to country and are unique to each individual who has to deal with it. Some of the causes of poverty are:

  • Government corruption
  • War
  • Government policies
  • Lack of educational facilities
  • Lack of employment opportunities
  • High cost/standard of living
  • Turmoil in the economy (Recessions, stock market crash, which leads to lay-offs and a whirlwind of other issues, which as we have recently seen affects the society as a whole, such as the home foreclosure crisis. )
  • Mental/physical disabilities
  • Drug abuse and addiction
  • Fleeing from emotional and physical abuse at home (Most often women and youth.)

Just as there are many causes of poverty, there are also many ways to curb poverty, such as:

  • Providing access to proper health care
  • Teaching proper hygiene
  • Providing schools and other educational facilities
  • Access to birth control and sexual education
  • Building low income housing, which is subsidized through the government or charity
  • Spreading awareness

Things you can do to help are: donate old books to schools in poorer neighbourhoods, donate or volunteer at organizations for the homeless and the poor.

You can also check out:

Youth: Poverty, Hunger & Homelessness 

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