Escaping Poverty: Organizations that Help
Worldwide, there are approximately 736 million people living below the poverty line, earning $1.90 a day or less.1 Many of these people are entrenched in cyclical poverty, handed down from one generation to the next. They lack the resources they need, such as education and health care, to succeed in life and break free from this vicious cycle. To help these people escape poverty, organizations such as GFA World assist and empower the poor in various areas of need.
Founded in 1979, GFA World, a poverty relief organization, has been serving “the least of these” for more than four decades. GFA World empowers impoverished people in places like Asia and Africa to improve their lives and overcome poverty. It is transforming lives and communities through practical help given with the tangible love of Christ. This work is accomplished through four main avenues: sponsoring national missionaries to minister to people’s needs, sponsoring children, investing in community development, and helping families in need of care or during disasters.
National missionaries live among the communities they serve and constantly look for ways to help the people. They commonly work with local government leaders to determine how to best help the community as a whole. They are also personally involved in the lives of their neighbors, attentive to their needs and seeking to help people on an individual level.
In many of the areas GFA World serves, and for many organizations that help poverty, people are in critical need of clean water, which affects their health and their livelihoods. In response, GFA missionaries install Jesus Wells and distribute BioSand water filters.
GFA missionaries also give people in need various income-generating gifts, such as sewing machines, goats, chickens, cows, tool kits and fishing nets. These gifts empower recipients to earn a sustainable income for their families and rise out of abject poverty.
Santon, for example, grew up in a poor family and had been forced to drop out of school when he was in the fifth grade.2 His parents could no longer afford his schooling. When Santon was older, he left home in search of a job so he could provide for his parents, but his lack of education limited his options to meager daily labor jobs. He seemed destined to repeat the cycle of poverty.
With a growing family to feed, Santon began selling produce door to door, but various obstacles blocked his success. He was on the verge of giving up his dreams. Then he received a pull cart through a GFA World gift distribution. With the cart, not only could Santon provide for his family, but he even earned enough money to send some to his parents—a long desired dream. GFA World also helped Santon’s son gain an education, ensuring him a better future with better job opportunities.
“An important part of alleviating poverty through income-generating gifts is not only how these practical gifts improve recipients’ circumstances but also how they restore their dignity and sense of value,” says a GFA World special report. “Rather than leaving them dependent on future help, they are equipped and encouraged to have an active part in creating their own better futures.”3
Similarly, GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program invests in the next generation, empowering them to escape cyclical poverty while also developing and empowering their families and communities. The program meets practical needs of impoverished children in Asia and Africa with solutions such as basic health care, food, clean water and educational and community service opportunities. It gives them a solid foundation for the future.
Venita’s father was an alcoholic daily wage laborer who barely earned enough for his family’s survival.4 Though Venita attended school, she lacked the proper study materials and support she needed to succeed. As a result, she struggled in her studies. With a limited education, she would likely continue in the poverty of her parents.
But at the age of 8, Venita was enrolled in GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program. She received academic assistance, school supplies, nutritional meals and other benefits through the program. Venita soon caught up in her studies. She also learned discipline, manners and morals.
Venita not only completed the 12th grade but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree. GFA’s sponsorship program gave her the foundation she needed to succeed; she now tutors children, helping them acquire the tools they need to achieve a brighter future.
GFA World also helps impoverished communities when disaster strikes. When people are already struggling to survive, a natural disaster such as an earthquake can present a major setback. These people may be unable to recover without assistance. To help these stricken people climb out of dire poverty, organizations like GFA World are there to offer relief for their immediate needs and assistance in rebuilding their lives. GFA missionaries, who are consistently part of the community, are uniquely positioned to offer immediate and long-term help in such circumstances.
In the wake of double earthquakes in 2015, for example, GFA missionaries in Nepal immediately joined rescue and relief efforts.5 Working with the local government, they helped rescue survivors and provided food.
A year later, displaced victims of the earthquakes returned to their homes, but they didn’t have the means to replace what had been lost. GFA teams provided household items and school supplies. Committed to help with the long-term rebuilding that was necessary, GFA workers also provided items like sewing machines, carpentry tools and livestock—the means to build a new source of income. Helping the poor escape poverty can happen when you donate to poverty organizations like GFA World.
1 “Poverty.” The World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview. Accessed August 5, 2021.
2 “Pull Cart Provides Father with Way to Feed His Family.” GFA World. https://gospelforasia-reports.org/2021/03/pull-cart-provides-father-with-way-to-feed-his-family/. March 11, 2021.
3 Holt, Palmer. “Poverty: Public Enemy #1.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/poverty-alleviation/. October 17, 2019.
4 “Finding Her True Destiny.” REJOICE: Gospel for Asia Newsletter. https://gfa-newsletter.org/issue/18/5/finding-her-true-destiny/. August 2021.
5 “Rebuilding the Rubble.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/gfa-world-rebuilding-the-rubble/. September 2019.