When was the last time you saw a homeless person sleeping on the street or skipped a YouTube ad about donating money to save hungry children? Poverty is more than having no food or money. It is about not having enough resources and that is a problem that concerns every country and every person - whether you are rich or poor, young or old. Even you may be affected by poverty at some point in your life if there isn’t a system in their community to protect you.
There is a reason why this is Goal #1. Poverty affects the other SDG’s on the list like jobs, education, housing and health. By now you may be wondering, how is that even possible? The following units explain this through REAL stories of how teenagers like you experience poverty everyday from the UK and Greece to Myanmar and Canada.
Yes, you should care.
Yes, you can do something about it.
It’s not only about the money
There is more than just one type of poverty, “Not having enough food to eat, clean water or shelter. Having no power or voice. It leaves you without safety and security, and it can affect you even more, depending on your gender, race or where you were born”- Oxfam.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling says, “Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression... humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts...to pride yourself.”
Someone living in extreme poverty means that they only have $1.90 a day to spend on all of their basic needs. This is a real issue that affects around 735 million people worldwide.
We aren’t here to sugar coat anything, but did you know that most of the worlds’ efforts work to end this type of poverty and 250,000 people are taken out of extreme poverty every day?
Perhaps you have never thought about it, but there is something called relative poverty which is harder to battle. Relative poverty is what happens when a person does not have a stable income, access to education, or is unemployed. It can be those who suffer from substance abuse, have a disability or mental illnesses. This also affects unwanted migrants and illegal refugees who do not have access to government resources.
What do we need to fight relative poverty? A system that supports people who lack a home, stable income, and legal protection. The materials in this unit help you understand types of poverty and how important government support is to battling relative poverty. Watch the video called “The Teen Whose Family Can’t Afford To Buy Food: Professor Green Living in Poverty”. The 4-minute video tells the story of 14-year-old rapper turned documentary maker Professor Green (aka Stephen Manderson) from the UK.
Why should you care?
We are all at risk of falling into situations of illnesses, accidents, or disability that can cause us to lose our job and income if there is not a social safety net to fall back on.
We want you to SEE and UNDERSTAND how people today live in poverty. Head directly to the materials section in this unit. You have to choose one of the two vice articles before heading to the exercise section.
You can and should celebrate the world’s progress and be thankful for what you have. As a global citizen, make sure to keep a critical mind about how efforts to reduce poverty can negatively impact things like human rights, environmental protection, and transparent governance.
Many people have successfully escaped poverty, and many more will in the near future. Join a global movement.
Ending poverty in ALL its forms EVERYWHERE. That may seem hard to wrap your head around, but YOU can do something about it!