Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school, not knowing how to read, not being able to speak properly. Poverty is not having a job, fear for the future and living one day at a time. Poverty is loosing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of freedom.
Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action - for the poor and the wealthy alike - a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and protection from violence. .
Unfortunately, poverty is often an invisible problem. The voices of the poor are seldom heard. And what makes me feel like writing about poverty is the unwillingness of our society to deal with this preventable problem and how politicians who rule the country pretend that poverty is simply a given human existence - a force of nature - unstoppable and eternal.
In fact what makes a good life? Material and physical well-being, security, freedom of choice and action - the very things that bring joy to human existence, all make a good life. It is living healthy and peaceful lives in love with no hunger; no worrying about the future of children that brings the principal pleasures of everyday life.
Physical health, strength and appearance are of great importance to the poor. The body is poor people's main asset, but one with no insurance. If it deteriorates, hunger and destitution hover at the doorstep. Shortage of food and sickness not only cause pain, they weaken and devalue the asset, make a person highly vulnerable. Illness can plunge a household into destitution. Anguish and grief over watching loved ones die because of lack of money for health care is a silent crisis of poverty.