The Sad Truth About Poverty

They say poverty is not the problem. They say that the poor and marginalized do not make an effort to transform themselves and this is why their lives are not improving. They say, it is ridiculous to help those who never dreamed of anything in their entire lives. Obviously, they don’t understand.

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They don’t know how it is like when you are just sustaining a low level of income despite your hard work. They don’t know how it feels to be deprived access of your basic rights to education, health care, and communal facilities like water, light, and sanitation. Most of all, they don’t know what it makes you into, when you are in a community surrounded by people whose spirits are dampened by despair and apathy because of the stigma that you are forever branded with.

They don’t know because they have never been poor. They never experienced debt collectors banging on their doors. They never patched the holes in their roofs and walls. They never wore hand-me-down clothes from the salvation army or from relatives who think they are above you just because they can afford to eat thrice a day. They never got their hands dirty by doing manual labor which they described as ‘lowly and mindless’ work. They never saw their sisters sell their bodies for a meager price. They never walked miles to get to a dilapidated shack called school only to discover that their teacher is elsewhere or worst, gone abroad where the grass is supposed to be greener. They never greedily watched another child play with so many toys but still complained about not getting a particular toy he wanted. They never felt that acrid pang of hunger when there was nothing to eat.

They Don't Know How It Feels Like To Be Poor

No, they don’t understand what being poor can do to you. They don’t understand the urge to steal so you can put food on the table. They don’t understand the need for a job, any kind of job, so that you can pay for an education that you hoped will save you and your loved ones from the hell you are in. They don’t understand the anger that builds inside you when you try and try and try for the nth time, only to be type-casted for the poverty that you were marked with. They don’t understand the heartache of having the carrot dangled in front of you and then to be told that you don’t stand a chance. They don’t understand the desperation that hovers above your head when there is no money left and no one is willing to loan you some.

They fail to see that a thief may also be someone’s father. They don’t see the mother behind the skimpy outfit of that whore strutting her goods in the dark alley. They don’t recognize that brother who is busy selling drugs in the streets. They disregard the age of those juvenile pickpockets who have been terrorizing tourists in the city. They refuse to look beyond the rags worn by street urchins who have mastered the craft of begging. They don’t understand the hope that burns in a poor person’s heart every time he buys a lottery ticket.

They only see what they want to see. And this is sad.

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