Before becoming an advocate to fight to end global poverty, you should understand what poverty actually is.

What is poverty? There are plenty of textbook and Google definitions for poverty.

Miriam-Webster defines poverty as “the state of being poor.” The definition works, but poverty is so much more than words on a page; it is a living, breathing problem that millions of people live with every single day.

Another dictionary definition for poverty is “the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount.” When you think about that in terms of human life, it can sound clinical, cold or cruel to refer to other humans as “inferior” or “insufficient” simply because they are living in poverty.

The world works that way. Many people question those who live in poverty and how some of them have “nice” things when they can barely afford simple goods like food or clean water. Other people view impoverished people as dirty or beyond help.

Poverty is people who live on a dollar a day, people who can’t find shelter, people who are dying from curable diseases all because they can’t afford treatment. Poverty is the fear that you will not make it to the next day.

When people think of poverty, they often think about people in Africa or just people who don’t live in their immediate country. However, poverty, even extreme poverty, is not localized to just the African continent. There are people struggling, suffering and barely getting by everywhere.

In America, one in six people struggle to make ends meet; to have just enough food and health care to feed and take care of their families. Over 600,000 people in America alone suffer from extreme poverty; the lack of shelter, food, health care and income.

So, what is poverty, because poverty is more than being poor and it’s more than having nothing to your name. Poverty is being terrified of not being able to make it to the next day without having something else taken from you and not being able to do anything about it.

The image of poverty is often a cruel and unforgiving one, but there can also be hope in the people who hang on day after day.

These people are the reason for the fight to end global poverty. The fight is for the people who hang on to life and struggle for the chance to one day be free of their demons and for the people who couldn’t make it, so no one will ever have to feel like them again.

– Cara Morgan

Sources: Feeding America, Google Definitions, Merriam-Webster, New Nouveau
Photo: Productive Flourishing