poverty and discrimination

Researchers, nonprofits and governmental organizations have put much time and effort into understanding the circumstances that lead to poverty. These causes of global poverty include lack of education, inadequate healthcare, climate issues, inequality, poor sanitation, lack of government infrastructure and several others. Despite the various individual causes that lead to poverty, the European Anti-Poverty Network summarizes these causes in its outline defining poverty and its roots. The European Anti-Poverty Network states that “poverty is a consequence of the way a society is organized.” This statement suggests that poverty is not predestined, coincidental or a result of individual lazinesses. Instead, poverty is the direct result of errors in the systems that govern people.

If we look closely at the specific root causes of poverty, it becomes evident that a common factor among these causes is inequality, marginalization and discrimination. Inequality does not happen accidentally but becomes the norm in society after a culture of discrimination has been reinforced over long periods of time. 

Discrimination is One of The Primary Causes of Poverty 

Many researchers directly cite discrimination, marginalization and inequality as root causes of poverty. More specifically, racial discrimination, xenophobia and gender-based discrimination have been named as individual contributors to poverty. However, various forms of discrimination also feed into other causes of poverty. For example, lack of education is a commonly cited cause of poverty. Marginalized people in particular are the ones who primarily lack access to an adequate education. There are 625 million children around the world that are of age to attend school; however, 110 million do not attend school. Of the 110 million children worldwide that do not attend school, two-thirds are girls – a highly discriminated demographic.

Additionally, researchers found that Black Americans from high-income backgrounds still did not perform as well as their white counterparts in school because of the negative impacts that legacies of racial inequality have on self-esteem. These results were not only seen in the USA but also in Black students in Israel and the United Kingdom. Similar disparities exist in healthcare systems and government institutions. Thus, to begin to address global poverty effectively, it is necessary to address discrimination. Here are four nonprofit organizations that are fighting global poverty by addressing social inequalities and marginalization.

Four Organizations Fighting Poverty By Addressing Inequality 

  1. Zonta: Zonta is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for women’s rights. The organization was founded to ensure women have equal access to opportunities and fair representation in decision-making positions around the world. Zonta offers three primary education service programs worldwide: Ending Child Marriage, Eid bi Eid and Let Us Learn Madagascar. Ending Child Marriage is an initiative that focuses on ending child marriage in 12 African and Asian countries. The Eid bi Eid program helps provide Jordanian women with access to employment and resources to end violence against women. Let Us Learn Madagascar works to improve educational opportunities for young girls. The organization has raised $28.7 million for its service campaigns and has helped improve living conditions for women in over sixty different countries.
  2. The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR): IMADR is an organization founded in Japan in 1988. The Buraku people, a Japanese minority, founded the organization to eradicate racism and discrimination around the world. It serves as a network connecting advocates and minority groups in Latin America, Asia, North America and Europe. Specifically, IMADR supports indigenous rights and implements guidelines to protect against discrimination based on ethnicity and class. The organization runs daycares for Dalit minority groups in India, fights against misconceptions surrounding race by hosting the World Social Forum and actively advocates for the ratification of the United Nation’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
  3. Survival International: Survival International is a nonprofit created to prevent the annihilation of indigenous people. The organization was founded in 1969 to bring global awareness to the genocide of Amazon Indians. Survival International continues to bring attention to the enslavement, murder and exploitation of tribal peoples worldwide. The organization has helped the Yanomami people maintain control over the largest rainforest controlled by tribal peoples, protect the Dongria Kondh tribe of India from the Vedanta mining company and return the Kalahari Bushmen to their ancestral lands. Survival International combats global poverty by protecting indigenous land and livelihood as well as fighting to end “Factory Schools” that strip indigenous children of their heritage and perpetuate discrimination.
  4. OutRight International: OutRight International is an organization based out of the US that does work on four different continents to document discrimination against LGBTIQ people and defend LGBTIQ human rights. The organization empowers LGBTIQ activists by hosting the “OutRight Week of Advocacy” where activists can meet with delegations from around the world. OutRight International also trains advocates and communities on how to discuss LGBTIQ issues. The organization has successfully partnered with Iranian journalists and police to equip them with precise Farsi terms to address LGBTIQ issues in Iran.

As advocates, humanitarians and governments around the globe actively strive to end poverty, it is imperative to address the root causes of poverty. Although there are a variety of factors perpetuating poverty, many of these factors share the common denominator of discrimination. In order to fight poverty around the world, individuals and organizations must be willing to address discrimination. These four organizations are examples of nonprofits doing precisely that. 

– Tiara Wilson
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