How to help the homelessThe most recent global homelessness survey was conducted in 2005 by the United Nations. It estimated that about 100 million people were homeless worldwide. According to Habitat for Humanity, as many as 1.6 billion people around the globe lacked adequate housing 10 years later, in 2015. The United States is pushing to provide adequate housing for all of the poor in the country, but what are some other basic ways that everyone could help the homeless globally?


Top 3 Ways to Help the Homeless


  1. End stereotypes and stigma. The first step in helping the homeless is understanding who they are. You can help the homeless by dispelling the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding homelessness and learning about the reasons why people become homeless, remembering that everyone and every situation is unique. According to the National Coalition to End Homelessness, the top five reasons that people fall into homelessness are a lack of affordable housing, a lack of a living wage, domestic violence, medical bankruptcy and mental illness. Many people have a difficult time getting past the many negative stereotypes that burden the homeless population. They also have trouble sympathizing with the homeless population because of these stereotypes. Educating others is as simple as correcting someone who expresses a homelessness stereotype, or talking with local publications about the problems homeless people face.
  2. Support nonprofits. To help the homeless, you can also support nonprofit organizations by donating money and clothing that will aid their projects and their missions. This is usually the easiest way to help. It ensures that social workers and professionals who best understand how to help the homeless will have the resources necessary to do their important work. Donating used items or new items is another easy way to help. These items can be donated to local organizations that house the homeless or otherwise support them. Additionally, you can always support your local homeless population by donating items directly. If you can’t donate money or goods, you can sign up to volunteer with a nonprofit organization. You can also encourage local publications to publish information about shelters. Many people are unaware that there are shelters for the homeless in their communities. To help the homeless, contact local papers, religious institutions and the editors of local civic group newsletters and ask if they would consider running a weekly or monthly listing of local services available to the homeless.
  3. Be an advocate. To help the homeless from a political standing, you can support mental health services. Mental health problems can be both a cause and an effect of homelessness. One of the best ways to make a difference for homeless people is to encourage and support access to free or low-cost mental health services and make sure that your politicians are encouraging other countries to do the same and discussing it at summits.You can support affordable housing initiatives, free and low-cost health care, day shelters and local libraries where people can research jobs and places to find help. Basic medical care is also a huge problem for homeless people. They are more prone to serious health problems but are stuck in a position where they cannot afford help. Day shelters are another service which can help homeless people get back on their feet. They give people a safe place to stay and store their things. Day shelters are uncommon, so if your city doesn’t have one, talk to your local city councilors or mayor about establishing one.

If the world works together to solve our poverty problem, we can help the homeless. To do this, people around the globe must first educate themselves about each issue and push for legislation that will improve the lives of the homeless population. Continuing to dispel stereotypes and volunteering time and items for nonprofit organizations are important steps to improve lives of others and make the world a better place.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr

Three Organizations That Help People Without ShoesShoes are much more than a fashion statement. Shoes play a major role in granting people health and access to opportunities. Several nonprofits and charities work to give shoes to people who need them. Before learning about three organizations that help people without shoes, here is why living barefoot is problematic and even deadly.

Across the world, around 300 million people cannot afford shoes. Shoes are often part of a school or work uniform, so without shoes, children and adults have a harder time getting an education or contributing to the household income.

In addition, going barefoot presents a number of hazards, from burns and injury to catching an illness or fungus. Any one of these dangers could negatively impact someone by keeping them sick at home or in a hospital.

More than 20 million orphaned children are without shoes in sub-Saharan Africa, where temperatures frequently rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These harsh temperatures can be physically agonizing to bare feet.

Orphaned or homeless children who are shoeless can be at further risk of injury if they search for food or other items in places like abandoned buildings and garbage dumps. They could step on glass, nails and other sharp objects that could cause an infection.

People without shoes, especially in underdeveloped areas of Africa and Asia, are also susceptible to hookworm disease. A hookworm burrowing into the foot causes this parasitic disease. Hookworms live in soil or water contaminated by feces.

Without treatment, hookworm disease and other parasitic infections can lead to chronic illness, amputations and death. Hookworm disease has adverse effects on school performance, childhood growth, work productivity and pregnancy, according to the World Health Organization.

Here are three organizations that help people without shoes.

  1. The Shoe That Grows
    This organization believes in “putting kids in the best possible position to succeed.” It provides long-lasting shoes to children in need. It’s adjustable, expandable shoe design solves the problem of kids quickly outgrowing their shoes and needing new ones. The Show That Grows is working toward producing shoes in countries that need shoes and jobs, such as Haiti and Ethiopia. The organization works with partners that distribute the expandable shoes to underserved communities on every continent except Antarctica.
  2. The Shoe Project
    Shoes are not just a dream for people in underdeveloped countries. Some homeless people and others living in poverty in the United States need shoes to stave off extreme temperatures and infection, as well as to help them get back on their feet. The Shoe Project works around the world and in its home city of Cincinnati. In addition to breaking down education barriers and improving health, the organization believes “new footwear empowers people psychologically and economically to find a job.” With a new pair of shoes, people can regain confidence and find opportunities.
  3. Souls4Soles
    This nonprofit began as a disaster relief agency, distributing shoes to people impacted by natural events like tsunamis and hurricanes. Today it has expanded distribution year-round. Souls4Soles accepts all kinds of shoes and sends good quality ones to distribution centers in 127 countries. Shoes in need of repair are sent to micro-enterprise programs where workers clean and refurbish the shoes to sell in their small businesses. The Souls4Soles website says donations provide a constant supply of product to thousands of entrepreneurs, which allows them to sustain their businesses and rise out of poverty.

These three organizations that help people without shoes, as well as several others around the world, have helped millions of children and adults that cannot afford the basic necessity of footwear. The shoes can change the life of someone living in poverty by allowing them to go to school or work, safeguarding them from injury and infection and giving them the confidence they need to take hold of their future.

Kristen Reesor

Photo: Google

Global Emergency Response CoalitionThe Global Emergency Response Coalition is a group of eight aiding organizations that came together in April 2017 in response to the hunger crisis around the world. It is the first of its kind and a new approach to foreign aid.

The alliance is made up of eight of the largest international aid organizations. Save the Children, CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International and World Vision are all involved. They have partnered with companies like Facebook and Pepsi to raise funds to split between the eight organizations.

Together, they are saving millions of children and families in need. Today, more than 20 million people are facing starvation and famine, and nearly 1.4 million children are malnourished. The alliance came together with one main goal: to end starvation in various countries. Four examples are Kenya, Niger, Uganda and Nigeria. With this new approach as a super alliance, there is hope that it may lead to more public interest in the crisis.

About 4.5 million children and mothers need nutrition services in Yemen. In addition, 1.9 million people require assistance with the impacts of conflicts. War has left families without food and necessities in Nigeria and so many other emergencies. The Global Emergency Response Coalition is aiming to address and respond to these crises “How powerful it would be to come together to break through and make this known,” said president and CEO of Oxfam America, Abby Mazman.

Some ways the Global Emergency Response Coalition is helping are leading health and nutrition programs and providing treatment and supplies. Humanitarian needs in South Sudan have risen significantly, as well as in the numerous countries the coalition plans on aiding. With their diverse responses, the organizations have come up with a diverse way to provide aid.

Transporting water and food, running nutrition programs and training doctors and nurses have become a part of the coalition’s plan in response to the famine and hunger crisis.

The Global Emergency Response Coalition is calling Americans to save children and their families’ lives from this hunger crisis. George Clooney, an American actor, has been especially supportive. Through his foundation, the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis, he calls on Americans to support the Coalition campaign. “By giving, we can inspire hope where hope is lost and make the world a better place,” Clooney says.

Brandi Gomez

Photo: Flickr

Rafiki Bracelets
On a normal day in rural Kenya, women in this poverty-stricken nation seek to better their lives. The solution they’ve discovered is surprisingly simple; these women make “Rafiki Bracelets.” These bracelets are sold in developed nations, and the proceeds help rural villages in Kenya.

The word “Rafiki”—probably best known from the character Disney’s The Lion King—is Swahili for “friend.”

Rafiki bracelets are a part of the Me to We program, a social enterprise system that allows impoverished individuals to make certain goods (in this case bracelets). In turn, Me to We makes a donation to certain life-changing initiatives, like clean water or education.

The Me to We program makes donations to six different programs:  health, food, opportunity, education, freedom and water. Some initiatives are fairly straightforward, like providing access to primary education, clean water, and clean food. Others, however, are not. The “opportunity” initiative helps women in impoverished nations with financial planning. The “freedom” initiative allows American students to help combat poverty.

Cinemark movie theaters sell Rafiki bracelets in their lobbies and even advertise the bracelets with an infomercial before the screening of films. This is a great way for this social enterprise to reach a larger audience. By advertising before feature films, the Me to We program can reach those who otherwise may never hear of their programs.

Additionally, celebrities like Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell wear Rafiki bracelets as a way to raise awareness. Mitchell has been quoted as saying, “I’m almost never without a Rafiki around my wrist. It looks cool, reminds me to live my life with a sense of gratitude, and is a symbol of the power we all have in our wallets to change the world.”

Rafiki bracelets are a great way for social enterprises to educate the public on global poverty. Due to their efforts, the plight of the world’s extreme poor reaches the world’s developed nations.

Raymond Terry

Photo: Flickr

Within the world of nonprofit work, many have incredible stories to share that expand others’ perspectives. Here is a list of books about nonprofits specifically focused on global poverty. Some are about what inspired certain organizations, some about the work that they do and some about behind-the-scenes logistics.

  1. “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World” by Tracy Kidder; Founder of Partners in Health, Paul Farmer is a believer in change when change seems impossible. This book describes Farmer’s pursuit of improving global health by working in places from Harvard to Peru and Haiti. His goal is to cure the world because “the only real nation is humanity.” For a list of books about nonprofits, this one is a must.
  2. “Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor” by Paul Farmer; Paul Farmer’s own book details his personal experiences working in developing countries. He describes the social and economic injustice that the poorer citizens of the world face and explains why it should be among everyone’s priorities to help. He writes with optimism, believing that our sense of justice will evolve with medical and social technology.
  3. “The Blue Sweater” by Jacqueline Novogratz; By blending personal stories and theory, Jacqueline Novogratz’s memoir demonstrates her approach to ending world poverty. Moving from credit analysis to nonprofit work, she started the Acumen Fund, which invests in ideas and companies fighting against poverty. She illustrates the global reach of the need for this kind of work by using personal stories from her travels.
  4. “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time” by Greg Mortenson; This is the story of one man’s journey from mountaineering to the school building in Pakistan. Mortenson’s 55 schools, many for girls, offer education in a dangerous place and illustrate the power one individual can have for change.
  5. “Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail” by Paul Polak; Polak focuses on a grassroots approach to ending poverty based on his 25 years of experience. He wants to help those who make less than a dollar per day stand on their own two feet rather than have developed countries swoop in and save them. His approach involves low-cost and innovative ways to implement change.
  6. “Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results” by Alison Green and Jerry Hauser; Another highlight of management on the list of books about nonprofits, this one focuses on getting results through effective management skills. It reminds us that office work can be just as important as getting dirty on the ground.
  7. “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits” by Leslie R. Crutchfield, Heather McLeod Grant and J. Gregory Dees; This book discusses the six characteristics that make 12 different nonprofits successful, especially when one looks at their levels of impact. Big or small, organizations can apply these six ideas to their own work, especially in the wake of the global recession.
  8. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins; As the title suggests, this book outlines certain companies that were able to go from average to amazing. Collins and his research team list seven characteristics that helped these companies build strong and long-term foundations for success.
  9. “The Networked Nonprofit” by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine; In today’s society, businesses rely heavily on social media to engage consumers, and nonprofits are no exception. In terms of books about nonprofits, this is another that focuses on management. Social media can be a great tool for raising awareness as well as fundraising and reaching donors.
  10. “A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability” by Vikram Akula; This personal story about the intersection between philanthropy and capitalism shows how business ideas can be applied to global problems. Akula writes about using capitalism to transform many of India’s poor citizens first into first consumers and then into business owners.

Everyone has a book, movie or song that completely changed the way he or she sees the world. Perhaps it was a particularly inspiring character or a plot that defied imagination. Often the most amazing stories humans tell each other are true.

Ellen Ray

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in China
Despite the rapid economic growth that China has experienced in the last few decades, 400 million Chinese people still suffer from poverty, especially in rural areas. The following paragraphs provide detailed information on how to help people in China:

1. Teach for China

Formerly known as the China Education Initiative, Teach for China is a program founded in 2008. Teach for China works to reduce the gap in education level between rural and urban China. To deal with the shortage of teachers in rural areas, Teach for China hires top university graduates from both the United States and China for two years to work as teachers in primary and secondary schools in Yunnan and Guangdong provinces. The American volunteers are responsible for teaching English, while the Chinese volunteers focus on other core subjects, including math, science and Chinese literature. As of today, approximately two-thirds of the volunteers are Chinese, while the remaining one-third are from the U.S.

2. UNDP’s programs

Another example of how to help people in China is through the United Nations Development Programme’s various programs aimed at mitigating poverty and inequality in China. The organization focus on tackling the root causes of poverty in China. Additionally, the UNDP emphasizes sustainability and ensures that its actions are in line with China’s values and cultural identity. The specific programs include partnering with leading national institutions in China to support their policy research and provide policy recommendations, and an initiative that focuses on inclusive development for ethnic minorities.

3. Donations to NGOs

Another way to reduce poverty in China is to donate to NGOs dedicated to helping the rural poor in China.

Save the Children, one of the world’s largest NGOs focuses on raising the quality of educating Chinese children in impoverished communities. Since 1992, it has established child-friendly spaces in rural communities and schools where children can safely learn, play and socialize. Immediately after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, it established a permanent office in Chengdu and has helped millions of homeless children and families affected by the earthquake ever since.

Another nonprofit organization that aims at ending the poverty crisis in rural China is Project Partner. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that while even the largest charities operating in other developing countries cannot work in China, it can, because of close relationships it has established with its partners since 1982. The organization accepts donations to various projects it carries out, as identified by its Chinese partners.

To provide clean water, for example, Project Partner digs wells and builds water storage systems. To improve health care, it builds clinics and trains doctors. Project Partner also offers scholarships and trains teachers in order to bring education toq rural areas. Project Partner also organizes regular trips to China to work directly with the people it supports through donations and fundraising. The participants can either help facilitate medical clinics, teach English, join youth soccer camps or visit rural Chinese villages.

These are the most typical examples of how to help people in China. Through these direct channels, it will be easier to alleviate poverty in rural China. This will help the nation achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Minh Joo Yi

Photo: Flickr

As Maya Angelou once said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Unfortunately, millions of Syrians do not have that safe place Angelou talked about because of the ongoing civil war in their country. The question for the rest of is how to help people in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The statistics are grim: 400,000 Syrians have been killed in six years of war. Another 6.3 million people have been internally displaced and 5 million have fled Syria altogether, and all in need of assistance.

With limited resources, high rates of poverty and continuous violence putting their lives in severe danger, Syrians need all the help that they can get. There are many ways to help people in the Syrian Arab Republic–here are three very simple and effective ones:

  1. Take the time to study the Syrian civil war. In a world with what seems an infinite number of media outlets, determining which facts are real can be confusing. But for those who genuinely care about those who have lost their homes, education is key.
  2. After learning about the crisis, take the opportunity to educate others. One advocate fighting for Syrians’ safety can transform into a group of advocates simply by informing people. It is very easy to get individuals involved through the influence of social media. Raising awareness about the injustices in Syria leads to more people who want to help and make a difference.
  3. Reach out to local congressional leaders. At The Borgen Project, political involvement is always encouraged so that one can have a say on the issues that matter the most to them. Be the voice for those who don’t have one.

Humanity may suffer from some flaws, but compassion and empathy remain common attributes. Many individuals sincerely want to help those less fortunate. Using the tips from this article, it is no longer a question as to how to help people in the Syrian Arab Republic but rather a matter of assuming responsibility and doing so. Syrians do not need superheroes to save them; they simply need people that care.

Raven Rentas

Photo: Flickr

Documentaries About Poverty
Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu can be a means to unproductive and endless binge-watching. However, they can also be an instrument of political and social change. Documentary films can be some of the highest quality filmmaking out there, as well as a great tool for nonprofit organizations. Documentaries about poverty can cover almost any issue, discussing topics of hunger, health, education and more. Below are eight documentaries about poverty that are definitely worth watching.

8 Influential Documentaries about Poverty

  1. Poverty, Inc.: This film examines and critiques the ways that good intentions from nonprofits and charity organizations can actually end up hurting the communities they wish to help. Some of these strategies include the Western attitude of patronizing developing countries and flooding a nation with handouts and thereby hurting its economy. Poverty, Inc. points out the flaws in certain forms of aid and how organizations and governments can fix them.
  2. Why Poverty?: This is actually a series of eight documentaries about poverty that are available for streaming on the PBS website. Broadly speaking, the series asks why poverty still exists for over a billion people around the world. The episodes aim for awareness, examining the causes of poverty and looking for solutions.
  3. We Feed the World: This film depicts the disparity between the amount of food available in the developing world with how much they produce and eventually waste in those same nations.
  4. Thought for Food: One of the shorter documentaries about poverty, this film also focuses on hunger. It tells the stories of students who created solutions for large food security problems. Consequently, it can give the viewer some ideas on how to fight hunger with their own skills.
  5. Girl Rising: This documentary looks at the stories of nine different girls in Asia, South America and Africa and how they used their education to overcome obstacles. Celebrities narrated this film without sounding patronizing. Overall, Girl Rising illustrates the power of education in desperate circumstances through messages of inspiration and triumph.
  6. Sewing Hope: While movements such as “Kony 2012” examined the plight of boys in Uganda forced to become child soldiers, this documentary looks at what happened to young girls and the quest to improve their lives. Many girls were taken as sex slaves and returned to their communities with their captors’ children. The documentary also examines Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe’s mission to give these women independence through vocational training like sewing and tailoring.
  7. On the Way to School: This documentary inspects the greater global issue of education through a closer look at four personal stories in India, Morocco, Patagonia and Kenya. It is thus a great film to raise awareness about the things the Western world takes for granted in education.
  8. Bending the Arc: This brand new documentary tells the story of the organization Partners in Health. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival this past January and is one to keep an eye out for.

Ellen Ray

Photo: Flickr

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program was established in 2000 by former Senators George McGovern and Robert Dole. It has fed millions of children all over the globe by way of school meals made from surplus U.S. agricultural products. In 2006, McGovern and Dole were awarded the World Food Prize for their work on the program. This award is seen as the “Nobel Prize for hunger.”

The program is credited with helping improve school attendance as well as feeding the hungry, as free school meals provide families with an extra incentive to send their children to school. This is especially the case for girls, as parents sometimes decide to keep them home from school to do housework.

McGovern-Dole has made recent news because the Trump administration’s 2018 budget outline proposes eliminating the program, citing that it “lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity.”

Forbes contributor Tim Worstall contends Trump’s claim that McGovern-Dole fails to reduce food insecurity is accurate. He points out that because McGovern-Dole consists only of food donations, it lacks sustainability, doing nothing to inject money into local economies or help farmers grow their crops. Although the program feeds people effectively, it is not a long-term solution to ending hunger locally.

This being said, McGovern-Dole does have sustainability measures in place, though they may not address food insecurity directly. The program is concerned with education. All meals through the program are offered through schools. This allows McGovern-Dole to track data such as the number of kids taking medication or learning to read at school. This helps other education-centered organizations focus their efforts. McGovern-Dole also implements teacher training, school infrastructure improvements and nutrition programs for pregnant women in the communities it serves.

Alternatives to direct food aid programs are not always reliable. The cash-based transfer, a form of assistance by which individuals in need receive bank transfers or vouchers to exchange for food at stores owned by the World Food Programme, is ineffective in communities with extremely unstable markets or bank services. Direct food aid like McGovern-Dole provides hungry individuals with food regardless of the state of the market in a community.

Caroline Meyers

Photo: Flickr

Rihanna's Charity Work Fighting Poverty in Malawi
In January 2017, Rihanna visited Malawi on behalf of her foundation, the Clara Lionel Foundation. She also journeyed as a global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.

During her stay, Rihanna, accompanied by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hoped to learn more about the challenges regarding health and education in Malawi. Global Citizen uploaded a short film documenting Rihanna’s charity work. The film depicts the poverty, hunger, poor education and the lack of many basic human rights that many children face in Malawi. In addition to interacting with children, Rihanna also discussed future improvement strategies with key political leaders.

The situation regarding education in Malawi requires immediate action. This documentary and Rihanna’s charity work helped bring attention to the severity of conditions in Malawi. According to a World Bank survey, one in two Malawians live in poverty, making it the country’s most pressing issue.

Currently, the fight against poverty in Malawi has experienced little progress in the past decade. Like many impoverished countries, the rural regions of Malawi are the most heavily impacted. The issue is primarily due to volatile economic conditions, natural disasters and poor performance in the agricultural sector. The World Bank has suggested that one possible solution could be investing in secondary education for women.

These issues regarding poverty and education have a particularly profound impact on young Malawian women. Rihanna’s charity work, as shown in the documentary, addresses how issues such as poor public infrastructure put young women in danger while walking to school. In addition, cultural practices such as arranged marriages deter women from pursuing education.

Rihanna’s charity work in Malawi attempts to increase global awareness of these issues while creating connections with key leaders. The Global Partnership for Education has raised funds for global education, and in past years has focused specifically on “inclusive, equitable quality education for all by 2030.” In fact, the organization hopes to raise $3.1 billion for over 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020. Partnering with Rihanna allowed them to combine these goals with the singer’s interest in education for girls and arts education.

In years past, Rihanna has used her fame to further her charity work. As a champion for women’s rights and access to arts and education, Rihanna established the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. The nonprofit fights to “improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.” The foundation creates scholarships, partners with various corporations, holds fundraising events and does much more in an effort to provide these areas with the resources they need.

Julia Morrison

Photo: Flickr