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My view of poverty....

Posted by Luther Gwaza on September 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM

 Someone shared this TED Talk by  Mia Birdsong: The story we tell about poverty isn't true.

"As a global community, we all want to end poverty. Mia Birdsong suggests a great place to start: Let's honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. She asks us to look again at people in poverty: They may be broke — but they're not broken."

This is one of the inspiring, captivating talks I have listened to. It got me thinking...that I am one of them,

the ones who think poor people needs fixing,

that those who have made it, work harder than those who are still struggling in poverty,

that the ones who are successful are smarter and more talented than those who seem to fail to make it, nomatter how you define success,

that "we" who have made it are the norm and those that are struggling are the exception, because they are lazy, unintelligent,

I am one of them...the ones who forget about the priviledges and just grace we have received,...Apostle Paul understood this principle of grace...when he said "For I am the least worthy of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God, oppressing it with cruelty and with violence. But by the Grace (the unmerited favor) of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me was not found to be for nothing. In fact, I worked harder than all of them, though it was not really I, but the Grace of God which was with me."

Look around you...we are bombarded by one sided story line that those who have made it, work harder, are smarter....more determined, focused, innovative ...hence their success. The danger of this side of the story, Mia continues, make us conclude that those who seem to have failed to make it, are the opposite. This is the danger of a single story...it creates stereotypes and continues to marginalise people. This one sided story make it inconceivable to think that those still in poverty work equally harder if not more, are smarter and sometimes have the solutions to their own problems.

I can also relate to this on the other end -- the receiving end, that "we" from poorly-resourced..whatever that means, or developing countries need fixing....that we are what we are because we are ...lazy, not smart, helpless, and clueless...when people talk about how to fix poverty, the poor do not have a sit on the table, because they have nothing to offer. The myriad of problems are cited as the route cause and that we do not have the solutions....people forget that sometimes it is alll just grace and priviledge..but this is hard to believe...thus we look for the tangible things that can explain the differences.

"I am tired of the stories we tell that hard work leads to success"

"The quarter truths and limited plot lines have us convinced that poor people are a problem that needs fixing"



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