The Effects of Poverty on Whole Communities
An individual or family living in poverty faces daily struggles that can leave them vulnerable for their entire lives. But the effects of poverty go far beyond the individual to impact the entire community in a myriad of ways:
“The vicious cycle of poverty means that lifelong barriers and troubles are passed on from one generation to the next,” reports the Borgen Project. “Unemployment and low incomes create an environment where children are unable to attend school. Children must often work to provide an income for their family. As for children who are able to go to school, many fail to see how hard work can improve their lives as they see their parents struggle at every day tasks.”
In a community with multiple people at risk, violence is always a possible issue as well. Prison Legal News reports, “The Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, has published a study that demonstrates, through empirical data, what many have long suspected: That extreme poverty leads to increased crime rates.”
Unemployment plagues communities gripped by poverty. According to the United Nations, “Unemployment and underemployment lies at the core of poverty. For the poor, labour is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to provide decent jobs that both secure income and empowerment for the poor, especially women and younger people.”
Imagine multiple families struggling with unemployment, possible violence, children out of school and the desperation engulfing an entire community. No one person is affected. The entire community suffers, and the cycle of poverty continues with each successive generation. The effects of poverty are not reserved for individuals or single families but radiate through whole communities.
How does poverty affect the community? In generations of poverty-bound people.
How does poverty and unemployment affect the community? By trapping individuals in unskilled labor.
How does poverty affect the health of the community? Reduces healthcare access and exacerbates diseases.
With the odds stacked against them, those in poverty need real, lasting solutions that create stairsteps out of cyclical poverty. But where to begin? The list of struggles and issues facing many in poverty can seem insurmountable.
Myla understood this more than most. On top of all the other concerns she faced, Myla was now a widow, which in many countries is one of the most difficult and lonely plights. As a widow, in her culture, she faced social ostracism and prejudice. This made things even harder for her and her children, already struggling to survive.
How was she going to take care of her family now? She needed a way to have a sustainable income, the need of nearly every person in poverty. Myla grew vegetables to sell, but that didn’t bring in nearly enough to make ends meet. Through it all, Myla clung to her faith in God.
A GFA World missionary, Hinda, knew of Myla’s situation and wanted very much to help her sister in Christ. Hinda made contact with regional GFA leadership to see what they could do for her. Through GFA’s gift program, they were able to match Myla with a pregnant goat. This one gift, possible because of a sponsor, was just what she needed to expand her business.
“Because I have this goat, I am able to move further in life,” Myla said. “I have a hope that I will be able to multiply this goat, and through it I will be able to provide [for] my children’s needs.”
GFA understands that the cycle of poverty must be broken with long-lasting solutions. Farm animals are a proven way of helping families secure income sources that last into the future and put them on more sure footing.
Donors like you can be the link between the difficult and even life-threatening circumstances of someone in poverty and a future of stability. From a water buffalo to chickens and more, you can give them the hope they need, just like Myla and her family received.
The effects of poverty can begin to be reversed with even one gift from the catalog of items available through GFA World. Though many choose to give these kinds of gifts at Christmas, you need not wait for that special time of year. Families are in need year-round and we provide these life changing gifts on the field year-round. Just like Myla, there is a family today who needs a farm animal or two in order to begin a new future of sustainable income.
With that income, their children can go to and stay in school, they can better avoid violence and so much more. Make a difference today in another’s life. Each life is a part of a community that shares the cycles and traps of poverty. Each life can escape that trap if given the right kind of help. Your generosity could help transform whole communities.Learn more about what is the cause of poverty
 “The Effects of Poverty on Society.” The Borgen Project. August 3, 2016. https://borgenproject.org/how-poverty-effects-society-children-and-violence/.
 “Brookings Institute Study Finds Direct Connection between Poverty and Crime Rates.” Prison Legal News. December 7, 2018. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2018/dec/7/brookings-institute-study-finds-direct-connection-between-poverty-and-crime-rates/.
 “Employment and Decent Work.” United Nations. Accessed July 8, 2023. https://www.un.org/development/desa/socialperspectiveondevelopment/issues/employment-and-decent-work.html.
 “A Kid To Feed a Widow’s Kid. GFA World. December 2022. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/a-kid-to-feed-a-windows-kids-wfr22-13/.