Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

In addition to knowing how to break the cycle of poverty, it’s important to understand how essential breaking the cycle of poverty is.

Poverty mindsets mean that poverty begets poverty. Parents who haven’t been educated often underestimate the value of education. Through their poverty mentality, they’re focused on the immediate needs of today, like getting enough food and water to survive. They’re not to blame; when every day is a battle to put food on the table or make it through a life-threatening disease caused by contaminated water, it’s hard to think that a big part of the solution involves sitting in a classroom.

At GFA World, we show parents just how important education is to breaking the cycle of poverty. Some call it the two-generation approach, which is one of the most successful models in aiding families to escape from poverty.[1]

Initially, some women in our literacy programs doubt how literacy could improve their lives. Some even mock women who attend— until they see for themselves the pride, confidence and abilities that grow in the educated women. For the first time ever, these women can count change at the marketplace rather than relying on the color of bills. They can read price tags and understand how much they have to spend. They can help their children with homework. Empowerment replaces shame, and hope shines through their faces—and spirits.

Through child sponsorships, GFA also educates and attends to the needs of children, whether they have parents or are orphans.

Divena’s mother left the home with another man when Divena was 3.[2] Her father was a truck driver who left her and her brother home for weeks at a time to make money. One day, a Bridge of Hope social worker saw Divena alone, playing in the mud. She enrolled Divena and her brother into child sponsorship, which was filled with laughter, play, education and loving adults and children. Divena sang songs, took field trips and learned cultural dances with the other children. Now, rather than starving, her body is full of nutritious food and her mind and spirit are filled with hope.

“Whenever I saw the children going to school with their bags, I felt very sad. However, today, [child sponsorship] has become a blessing to me and my brother,” she said.

You can do your part in breaking the cycle of poverty by sponsoring a child like Divena today.

Learn more about the Poverty Mindset

[1] Semuels, A. “A different approach to breaking the cycle of poverty.” The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/a-different-approach-to-breaking-the-cycle-of-poverty/384029/. December 24, 2014.
[2] “Neglected Girl Replaces Mud Canvas with Paper, Pencils.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/neglected-girl-replaces-mud-canvas-with-paper-pencils/. May 2020.
* Grazio, Wayne S. Flickr. https://flickr.com/photos/fotograzio/30061519867/. May 28, 2015.