How to End Poverty

By Saiarchana Darira

This research paper was originally written for Ms. Mezeske’s Math Honors Class.

My eyes open, and it’s another day. Suddenly problems overwhelm me, and I start worrying – worrying about college, the ACTs, the SATs, and writing this paper in time. Thousands of mile away, a child in poverty opens his or her eyes. Worries plague their minds too – but these are different ones – about having enough to simply stay alive. The problems in a first world country seem like nothing in a third world country living in poverty. Poverty is one of this world’s greatest problems, and it affects millions of human beings on a daily basis. To an average human being, problems like poverty seem impossible to solve. But, can the solution to poverty actually be simpler than one thinks? Poverty is something that is solvable. Here is how to end poverty.

Before we try to solve poverty, we must first understand it. There are two types of poverty – extreme poverty and acute poverty. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as a state where a person raises below $1.90 a day. The term extreme poverty only looks at a person’s income, though. Thus, the term acute poverty was created. Acute poverty describes the state of human beings who don’t have a substantial income or access to essential resources (such as food, water, education, sanitation, and medical care) to survive. This term expands the state of poverty, not just looking at the income side of living in poverty.

The statistics surrounding poverty at first seem to discourage an individual, but if one looks closer, they actually provide hope. In 1800, 85% of the world was in extreme poverty. In 1990, 35% of the world was in extreme poverty. In 2015, the estimate for extreme poverty was 12%. On September 2015, the United Nations announced the Sustainable Development Goal to end all forms of poverty – not just extreme poverty – by 2030. Throughout history from 1800, extreme poverty levels have decreased, and since recent times, drastically. But taking the very last step to ending all forms of poverty will be the hardest… but, not impossible. Humanity can end all forms of poverty, not just extreme poverty. But…how?

There is a power in numbers; more people need to take part in this battle against poverty. There are many organizations that are aiming to end poverty. But, these organizations can’t do it alone. We need to recruit world governments to make ending poverty a priority. Countries need to help other countries in suffering, and human beings need to help other human beings in suffering. If we want to genuinely end poverty in thirteen years, more people need to join the war against it.

Children are our future, and every single child deserves saving, including those in poverty. Educating children in this world should be a priority in this journey of ending poverty. Micaela Pasini said, “Cultural norms combined with extreme poverty have compelled children to take on the role of breadwinner, including by joining the armed forces and armed groups.” Children in poverty are forced to earn money for their family instead of going to school – some families can’t even afford school. A good education gives any child the capacity of reaching great heights in life. It isn’t fair that if a child is born into a family of poor farmers, that child has to accept the fate of being a farmer for the rest of its life (if they survive that long enough). For the longevity of the poverty’s end, we need to plant permanent solutions. Educating children helps them escape the bonds of poverty and acquire skills to have a sustainable living (not just for them, but for their future children).

Children shouldn’t be the only focus in efforts to end poverty; we need to address the problems of adults today in poverty. Adults simply need help surviving. Imagine going day by day, not sure where your next meal is, not having access to drink unsanitary water, not having a roof over your head or not having any means to reach medical help. Let’s think of parents who struggle to keep their children alive simply due to their economic situation. Many, many people go through things like this every day – it’s basically their life. But, it doesn’t have to be. Remember, there is a power in numbers. Poverty seems so strong because of how many people live under its wrath. But the fight against poverty can be even stronger depending on how many people are willing to join it.

Common people – just like you and me – can solve the problems children and adults go through in poverty. We as human beings can spread ideas with each other and increase awareness about poverty. And with any profession, we can help the poor in some way. A doctor can go to a poor country on their vacation time to provide free medical assistance. A teacher can teach their students that problems in this world are solvable. A journalist can show the world the magnitude of poverty to make people more aware of it. There is so much power behind gathering individuals together for a common cause, with people from different professions meeting to reach one goal: ending poverty.

Poverty has to be ended as soon as possible. Once it ends, other problems in this world may go away too. Many issues in this world come from places of extreme poverty – such as terrorism, human trafficking, and robbery. If people in poverty had proper education and were exposed to ideas like equality, the idea of gender equality would become more prominent and human trafficking would decrease. When others had access to necessities, then they wouldn’t have to resort to stealing to survive. If people in suffering are treated with love and compassion and helped by other human beings, maybe they wouldn’t mindlessly kill other human beings. And, if people were exposed to ideas of this world through education, not just the ones of their home, they would have the ability to become more open-minded.

Nelson Mandela said, “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” Poverty is something that can be ended. The solution to it isn’t a complicated web of formulas, but simply one mathematical idea: the more people that work to end poverty, the fewer people there are that suffer in poverty. The equation becomes stronger with the addition of people to it. By gathering the people of this world together, poverty becomes weaker. The solution to poverty is so simple: more people need to start caring about others. In order to ensure the extinction of poverty, the world needs to work in harmony to provide permanent measures in areas of poverty so that people have the means to survive. Let’s all ensure that human beings don’t have to worry about staying alive because of poverty. We can end poverty, starting with simply believing we can. There is, and will always be, hope for the future.


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