Generational Poverty

Generational Poverty

Parents always want the best for their kids, but when it comes to generational poverty, a lack of resources means they can’t help but pass the cycle onto their children.

When more than two generations of a family live in poverty, it creates a sense of hopelessness and physical barriers families usually can’t rise above on their own.1 Without help, families remain stuck.

Poverty causes everything from hunger and illness to anxiety and despair. It’s a complex, chronic condition that affects the body, mind and spirit: lack of food and contaminated water weaken the body and impact brain development; lack of education and resources to make enough money lead to hopelessness; and all of these cumulate into a feeling of unworthiness.

About 767 million people worldwide live on less than $1.90 day, and half are children or teens.2

But there is hope. At GFA, we interrupt generational poverty by addressing the root problems.

Free Education and Vocational Skills

A third of adults in low- and middle-income countries don’t have the basic skills to obtain jobs that pay enough to feed a family.3

Education is key to getting out of — and staying out of — poverty. The poor rarely lack intelligence or ability; what they lack are skills, which they can learn through proper schooling.4

Parents are often uneducated and either can’t afford to send their children to school or don’t understand how important it is.

GFA provides free education to children, so they develop the life skills they need to stop the cycle of generational poverty. In some areas, school is free, but parents can’t afford necessary supplies, like books or uniforms, so we provide these resources as well. At school, children not only learn how to read, write and do math, but they also develop social skills and a sense of self-worth and confidence that helps them break cyclical poverty.

Our GFA World child sponsorship program gives kids food, clean water, education, recreational activities, hygiene training, medical care and much more.

Of course, education doesn’t end with kids. We help parents, too. We offer vocational skills, like sewing, candle making, farming and basket weaving, to adults, so they can make a livable wage — and even open their own business.

Adults like Leena opened their own business as a tailor. This allows her to feed her children three solid meals a day. She now acts as a role model for her kids, paving the way to a brighter future.

Proper Nutrition, Water and Medical Care

Children who are hungry or ill from improper nutrition and/or unclean water either don’t attend school or can’t perform adequately. About 47% of children in low-income countries are malnourished from birth to age 5, and this impairs their brain development, as well as energy levels.5

GFA identifies barriers in the community and solves them. We provide clean water wells, toilets and water filters so that no one suffers from disease due to poor sanitation. The World Health Organization reports that diarrheal diseases, caused by lack of sanitation, is one of the leading causes of children’s death.6 About 1 billion people in South Asia don’t have safe sanitation facilities, and about 775,000 people a year die from improper sanitation.7

When Pastor Nikolos saw that families in a rural village relieved themselves outside their homes because they couldn’t afford toilets, he built them. Every penny the families made went to food and emergency needs; they couldn’t afford basic sanitation, so they risked encountering poisonous snakes and insects when they went out at night to go to the bathroom. Worse yet, the waste bred infection, causing diarrhea and other diseases that interfered with work and school. Now, this village doesn’t suffer from illness, infection or poisonous bites due to poor sanitation.

Social and Spiritual Support

Living in poverty often results in a sense of shame and hopelessness. Through our educational programs and ministry, we restore hope and provide important resources for people to shift from surviving to thriving.

Through schooling and skill-building classes, both kids and adults motivate each other as they learn new trades. They also come to know that they are children of God, who are being guided to new beginnings. Through community classes and projects that change people’s lives for the better, we prove that there is always hope in Jesus Christ.

You Can Help

Since 1979, GFA has been helping those suffering find relief. Together, we can continue to make a difference. Every day, we break the cycle of poverty by attending to people’s physical, mental and spiritual needs.

Your donation can educate a child, provide chickens to produce eggs for families to sell, stop disease from spreading due to poor sanitation and support greater health and hope throughout an entire community.

Learn how to read for adults

1 “The Burden of Generational Poverty.” Compassion International. Accessed June 2022.
2 “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality.” World Bank Group. (statistics apply to 2013),
3 “Understanding Poverty: Skills Development.” World Bank Group.
4 “Chapter Four: Characteristics of Generational Poverty.”
5 “Role of Education in Ending Extreme Poverty — Taking a Global Lead,” Norad,–taking-a-global-lead/.
6 “Diarrhoeal disease.” World Health Organization. May 2, 2017.
7 “Sanitation.” Our World in Data,