How to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Studies on how to break the cycle of poverty indicate that education, basic health and resources and mindset all play important roles.[1]

Education is key to building the skills, confidence and vision that lead to a better future. Yet, increases in education from generation to generation have faltered in the last 50 years. About 50% of children born in the 1980s in developing countries have no more education than their parents (born in the 1960s).[2] If this trend continues, goals of ending extreme poverty will remain a huge challenge.

Lack of education contributes to a poverty mindset, which unintentionally gets passed on from generation to generation because parents and children lack the foundational skills, and thus the hope and dreams, to climb out of poverty. They see no way out, and without outside assistance, they remain stuck in a daily fight to obtain enough food, clean water and other resources just to survive.

“The potential of hundreds of millions of people is being wasted, as their chances remain too closely tied to the previous generation. We have to invest in young children so they are hardwired to succeed,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of World Bank Group.[3]

Investing in children’s education and health, as well as in infrastructure in the form of clean water and sanitation, are “critical to improving mobility,” the World Bank report states.[4]

At GFA World, we approach breaking the cycle of poverty from all sides of the generational equation.

Supporting families:


We ensure families have proper infrastructure, such as clean water, so women and children don’t have to spend hours every day traveling far distances to acquire water—which many times is contaminated with organisms that cause debilitating diseases. We drill Jesus Wells in villages so families can draw clean, life-giving water to support their health without walking far. This allows children to attend school and women to work for greater income.

Supporting adults:


Worldwide, 781 million adults are illiterate.[5] Learning to read, write and do basic math not only helps when buying food or getting better jobs, it also can save lives; literate women’s children are twice as likely to live past age 5.[6] Our literacy classes allow mothers to help their children with homework, count change and learn about God’s love by reading the Bible.

Supporting children:


We feed children nutritious meals and include essential vitamins to foster healthy minds and bodies. Then, we teach them life skills to succeed in the future. Our programs also include recreational activities, healthcare and community service.

Help with breaking the cycle of poverty by sponsoring a child.

Learn more about the Poverty Mindset

[1] “World Bank Urges Action to Break the Cycle of Poverty from Generation to Generation.” World Bank. Oct. 17, 2017. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/10/17/world-bank-urges-action-to-break-the-cycle-of-poverty-from-generation-to-generation.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Giovetti, O. “6 benefits of literacy in the fight against poverty.” Concern Worldwide US. https://www.concernusa.org/story/benefits-of-literacy-against-poverty/. August 27, 2020.
[6] “Global Poverty and Education.” Children International. https://www.children.org/global-poverty/global-poverty-facts/facts-about-world-poverty-and-education. Accessed January 21, 2022.
* Grazio, Wayne S. Flickr. https://flickr.com/photos/fotograzio/30061519867/. May 28, 2015.