Poverty in Asia

What are Some Ways to Reduce Poverty in the World?

Poverty is a worldwide problem. Across the globe, approximately 736 million people live under the poverty line, earning $1.90 a day or less.1 Many of these men, women and children lack basic essentials such as clean water, proper nutrition or education. Families struggle just to survive. Poverty is a complex problem, with various causes and symptoms, but there are some ways to reduce poverty in the world.

There are many organizations addressing worldwide poverty and its effects. Some organizations focus on raising awareness while others offer practical assistance to uplift impoverished people from their destitution.

This aid may include, among other things, educational assistance, vocational training or providing clean water.

GFA World has been serving “the least of these” since 1979, beginning in Asia and recently expanding into Africa.

Serving as the hands and feet of Christ, GFA missionaries help meet the needs of impoverished people, invest in their communities and empower people to rise out of poverty. Living in the communities they serve, national missionaries have unique insight into the unique needs within those communities.

A common need is educational assistance, since education and poverty are closely linked.

While education can provide a path out of poverty, poverty often presents formidable barriers to obtaining an education. The stresses of poverty have “suppressing effects on individuals’ cognitive development, executive functioning, and attention” that contribute to continuing the cycle of poverty, says an article in Psychological Science.2 Malnutrition, which is common among impoverished children, also hinders education as it stunts a child’s development and health; hunger also distracts a child from learning.3 This lack of education can strengthen the grip of poverty on a child’s life, limiting future prospects.

In contrast, “Education improves quality of life and provides needed skills,” says ONE, a global organization campaigning to end extreme poverty. “In fact, if all students in low-income countries had basic reading skills, extreme poverty could decrease by 12 percent.”4

Through GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, children receive the assistance and instruction they need to thrive.

They receive basic essentials, such as school supplies, nutritious food and health care, alleviating their families’ financial burden and ensuring children’s basic needs are met. GFA staff lovingly invest in children’s lives, ensuring they have a proper education and solid foundation from which to build their success. With these tools, children have hope for a better future, free from the clenches of poverty.

GFA World also offers adult literacy classes.

Many impoverished adults grew up in impoverished families and didn’t have the opportunity to attend, or complete, school. Their illiteracy limits economic opportunity and hampers everyday life. They are vulnerable to exploitation at the market and in business dealings. They can’t read labels or help their children with their homework.

Illiteracy is particularly acute among women in Asia and Africa, the very areas where GFA missionaries serve.

The lowest literacy rates in the world are among women in sub-Saharan Africa (57 percent) and Southern Asia (63 percent).5 Through GFA literacy classes, however, thousands of women have learned to read and write. These skills have dramatically changed their lives, bringing new confidence and opportunity.

Another way GFA missionaries help reduce poverty is through income-generating gifts, such as sewing machines, tool kits, fishing nets, cows, goats and chickens.

To see a decline in world poverty, according to the World Bank’s Ana Revenga, “What’s needed is economic growth that improves the income-generating opportunities of the poor.”6 These tools, along with vocational training such as tailoring classes, equip impoverished families to do just that, giving them opportunity for better income generation and better lives, free from poverty.

These are just a few ways GFA missionaries help those in need. As they demonstrate the tangible love of Christ, lives and communities are being transformed.

1 “Ending Poverty.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/ending-poverty. Accessed November 17, 2021.
2 Sleek, Scott. “How Poverty Affects the Brain and Behavior.” https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/how-poverty-affects-the-brain-and-behavior. August 31, 2015.
3 Walthouse, Emily. “Effects of Hunger on Education.” The Borgen Project. https://borgenproject.org/effects-of-hunger-on-education/. Accessed August 19, 2021.
4 Fatai, Razaq and Sadof Alexander. “Extreme poverty: A problem demanding many solutions.” ONE. https://www.one.org/international/blog/extreme-poverty-solutions/. April 17, 2020.
5 “Literacy Rates Continue to Rise from One Generation to the Next.” UNESCO Institute for Statistics. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs45-literacy-rates-continue-rise-generation-to-next-en-2017_0.pdf. September 2017.
6 Frykholm, Amy. “Ending extreme poverty: Economist Ana Revenga.” The Christian Century. https://www.christiancentury.org/article/2016-05/ending-extreme-poverty?CID=POV_TT_worldbank_EN_EXT. June 2, 2016.