Smashing cycles of poverty in Jaffna

IMG_4042Can we smash the cycle of poverty and prevent one generation trapped in poverty producing another poor generation? Returning from our visit to Jaffna recently we were overwhelmed by stories which emphasised the importance of education and the potential to radically change lives. In this article I present some anecdotal evidence that sponsoring really works. Ensuring that boys and girls receive a good education really changes the lives of young men and women.

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Aid Dependency: Good or Bad

Beggars in India

Beggars in India

Dependency has become a bad word in the charity business. Fighting poverty is good, but meeting the needs of people in poverty can produce dependency, which is not regarded as a good thing.

But before we “throw the baby out with the bathwater”, consider our children. A newborn baby is completely helpless and completely dependent on its parents. We do not say to the parents,” Do not feed your child: you may produce dependency”. In this case, dependency is good and it’s natural.

At the other end of the scale, if a poverty relief programme simply gives out to needy families, [Read more…]

Reducing poverty by Education

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty ...

Picture of siblings living in extreme poverty in El Salvador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To eliminate extreme poverty there is no magic bullet. The causes of poverty are many, varied and interdependent. Education is a key to lifting people out of the cycle of extreme poverty and preventing one poor generation producing another poor generation.

Of course, education alone is not enough. Childhood diseases prevent children attending school and undernourishment of infants can cause brain damage which prevents them achieving their full potential. [Read more…]

A School in Kampala

A Classroom in Kampala

A Classroom in Kampala with temporary walls and ceilings

It was a hot, humid day. We were standing in the headmistress’ office in a primary school in Uganda. She was explaining how many of the poor families who sent their children to the school would not be able to afford to send their children to secondary school. I looked into the eyes of many of these children and saw that they were intelligent and willing to learn. The tragedy struck me then. These boys and girls could not progress further with their education which will mean that they would not get decent jobs and so one poor generation [Read more…]

Happier giving than getting

Flour distribution in Kenya by karuna Action

Flour distribution in Kenya by karuna Action

In the Message version of  the Bible, Jesus is reported to have said, “You’re far happier giving than getting” (Acts 20:35). The NIV version says the more familiar words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive“. When I was young, and heard this quotation something within me said, “Oh yeah!” in a sceptical way. Although I acknowledged that it must be true if it said so in the Bible, I didn’t really believe it. But as I grew older the words became so obviously true, in my experience, and in my observation of other people.

A study in Canada, showed that even toddlers, who you expect to be selfish, were demonstrably happy giving treats to other youngsters, even when that treat belonged to the giver.  [Read more…]

Modern Slavery

Slavery has existed throughout human history and still exists in the world today in various forms. Estimates of people living in slavery vary, but it is probably between 12 million and 27 million. But in most countries of the world, slavery is illegal. So how come it is still tolerated? [Read more…]

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