Poverty Mindset

Poverty Mindset

The definition of a poverty mindset held by people living on less than $1.90 a day stands in stark contrast to the way financial gurus in the United States define it.

While 9.5% of people worldwide (about 696 million) live on less than $1.90 a day,[1] malnourished and struggling to afford enough food to fill their growling stomachs, many more—1.3 billion—are multidimensionally poor. This means they experience poor health, substandard living standards and income, lack of education and unsafe environmental conditions (ranging from contaminated drinking water to threats of violence).[2] Overall, nearly half the world lives on less than $5.50 a day.[3]

Both extreme poverty and multidimensional poverty contribute to a poverty mindset, in which people firmly believe that their circumstances are hopeless and that they will never have enough money.

Different worlds; different approaches

In developed countries like the United States, many financial experts and websites begin with an assumption that people already have enough money to feed and support their families. With this beginning assumption already in place, they often define poverty mentality as people’s beliefs revolving around how they shouldn’t spend money due to limited opportunities and temporary and non-replicable success. Many financial coaches solve this problem by teaching people to change the way they think by transforming their negative thoughts into positive, confident ones.[4]

But when people are struggling to survive day to day, starving and getting sick from contaminated water and inadequate sanitation, the place to start is not their thinking. They need education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation and job opportunities before they can alter their thinking. [5]

How to break the cycle of poverty

That’s why GFA World addresses breaking the cycle of poverty by first meeting people’s most basic needs. Here are three main ways we’re transforming people’s lives:

Clean water and sanitation:

Breaking out of poverty begins by having enough physical and mental energy to do so. Contaminated water and poor sanitation expose people to life-threatening and depleting illnesses.

We dig deep Jesus Wells so villagers can obtain fresh, clean water nearby. Our outdoor toilets reduce the approximately 2.4 million deaths that can be prevented annually by proper hygiene and sanitation. They also diminish fear—an emotion predominant in a poverty mindset—for girls and women who have to risk their safety by going outside in bushes and streets at night to relieve themselves.


Our child sponsorship program gives children hope by empowering them with a solid education so they can actually develop—and pursue—dreams of becoming teachers, skilled craftspeople or even medical providers.

Through child sponsorship, we provide school supplies, medical checkups and nuitritious food. By taking care of their immediate needs for food, healthcare and education, we build a foundation for children to break generational poverty—and its accompanying mindset. To witness children smiling with hope because they have the resources they need for a brighter future is truly a gift from God.

Income-generating animals and tools:

From sewing machines and fishing boats to farm animals, income-generating gifts give people new hope.

Sewing machines allow tailors to open their own businesses. Cows, goats and sheep provide nutrient-rich milk to both drink and sell. Chickens produce eggs, and pigs provide meat. As these animals reproduce, they provide a sustainable way to nourish families and offer goods to sell in the marketplace.

Help begin breaking the cycle of poverty today through your donation.

Learn more about Poverty Solutions

[1] “SDG Goals.” United Nations. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2021/goal-01/. Accessed January 21, 2022.
[2] “Policy—A Multidimensional Approach.” Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. https://ophi.org.uk/policy/multidimensional-poverty-index/. Accessed January 21, 2022.
[3] “Nearly Half the World Lives on Less than $5.50 a Day.” The World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/10/17/nearly-half-the-world-lives-on-less-than-550-a-day. October 17, 2018.
[4] “Do You Have a Poverty Mindset?” BusinessBlogs. https://www.businessblogshub.com/2012/10/do-you-have-a-poverty-mentality/. Accessed January 21, 2022.
[5] “Poverty Rate by Country 2021.” World Population Review. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/poverty-rate-by-country. Accessed January 21, 2022.