The state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.

Synonyms: privation, neediness, destitution, indigence, pauperism, penury.

Antonyms: riches, wealth, plenty.

Origin: 1125–75; Middle English poverte < Old French < Latin paupertāt- (stem of paupertās ) smallmeans, moderate circumstances. See pauper, -ty2

We all get the idea of what poverty is, but our actual awareness of all the definition contains can be thin.

Poverty is a destructive force that hits the very poor at absolutely every level of their life.


It means no money for shelter, so they will grab discarded rubbish as a treasured commodity to shield their family from the elements. Things like cardboard boxes and pieces of old rusted sheet metal are the only things protecting their family from the harsh elements.



Little or no income means no clean water. Since they can’t afford a well or a filter they will need to travel long distances to source and deliver contaminated water. This often results in sickness, which can result in an opportunity for traffickers, see freedom.



In extreme poverty it is not uncommon for parents to sell their children, pimping their own out themselves or selling them to a local brothel. Some families will even marry out their daughters at a young age, hoping for the husband to pay a dowry in order to help them survive.



No money means no medicine. Children will die in slum areas because their family could not afford a 10-cent worm tablet. Poverty steals lives and breaks families.



A big factor in poverty is food and millions go to ‘bed’ each night on an empty stomach simply because they do not have enough money to eat. Hunger and malnutrition are the leading cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.



Every ethnic group around the world celebrate special occasions. Poverty means birthdays and special event days become just another day so there aren’t any opportunities to look forward to. I.e. Christmas, birthday parties, Chinese New Year etc.



Poverty reduces the opportunity or quality of education. Families will often keep their children at home to work at the rubbish dump rather than gain an education.

The fallout after primary school is extremely high and creates an education vacuum. The lack of finance reduces opportunities to study and create a career.



Living on a few dollars a day means millions of people cannot escape the poverty trap. They will not be able to start a business or learn a new skill because they simply do not have enough to live on let alone pay for a course or a loan.

Poverty’s tentacles reach into every part of a poor persons life and squeeze the very life from them. Nelson Mandela understood poverty very well. He said the problem was made by man and suggested this mess was completely solvable.

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” – Nelson Mandela

We can do something to stop poverty somewhere. We can stand in the face of the shadow of this monster and say no further! We will bring solutions, finance and energy to push this disaster backwards and pound it into the dust so that people can be free to live a decent human life.

Imagine thousands of families living in proper sustainable homes, complete with solar power.

Can you process a picture in your mind of a medical centre caring for the local town?

Can you see children celebrating birthday parties, parents having jobs where their self esteem blossoms as they are able to provide for their families?

Imagine a healthy town full of food and fresh water.

Imagine it….

Now multiply it!

We have the power to start this and finish it, all we need to do is act on some of Mandela’s words. We would need to stand up and be great, (not for us but rather for them) and we would need to allow that potential inside of us to blossom for all to see.