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The Meaning of Poverty

"Poverty is the worst form of violence."

Mahatma Ghandi

Much has been written about the meaning of poverty. What we find through our work and frequent visits to poor communities is that poverty:

  • deprives people of their security and well-being; 
  • deprives people not only of safe water and adequate food, clothing and shelter, but also education and healthcare;
  • Family in Makenilol. Poverty means physical deprivation, lack of opportunity, and loss of hope.

  • takes away people’s rights, and their freedom, dignity and peace of mind;
  • puts people's lives in danger and robs them of their future.

Of course, poverty is not just about physical deprivation, it is also about lack of opportunity and loss of hope (poverty of spirit) -- see what we say about this in relation to countries in Eastern Europe.

The Scottish Poverty Information Unit argues that: "Poverty is defined relative to the standards of living in a society at a specific time. People live in poverty when they are denied an income sufficient for their material needs and when these circumstances exclude them from taking part in activities which are an accepted part of daily life in that society."

The existence of poverty in the 21st century is a scar on all our consciences.

If you'd like to find out some of the latest things we have been doing to alleviate poverty visit What's New?. For some quotes on poverty press here; or return to Home Page.