Over 1.2 Billion people in the world suffer from poverty

The World Health Organization defines poverty as Extreme, Moderate, or Relative. The worst forms of poverty are Extreme and Moderate.

Extreme Poverty Less than $1 per day
Moderate Poverty Less than $2 per day

In Extreme Poverty, a person is on a down-hill slide unable to sustain themselves, or their family. In moderate poverty people can sustain themselves but not advance.

Area Extreme Poverty Moderate Poverty
Sub-Saharan Africa 45% 30%
Southeast Asia 32% 45%
Carribean and Latin America 9% 13%

Poverty is characterized first by Hunger. Those in extreme poverty typically eat one meal a day. The meal is usually mostly carbohydrates. Because of the hunger, they do not have the energy to work or go to school and are more susceptible to disease leading to the downward spiral on the economic scale. They cannot improve their crop yields because they farm by hand, if they are sick or don't have the energy to farm their yields drop. They cannot afford fertilizers and their soils are depleted. The lack of a balanced diet leads to poorly developed minds and bodies.

Those in extreme poverty cannot afford health care, or if severely sick cannot get to the nearest health clinic. Even when they are able to travel to the clinic, the clinics are usually ill equipped to provide even the most basic care and usually don't have the proper medicines to care for them.

Average life expectancy of 45 years is not unusual in third world countries. Malaria kills over 150,000 children EVERY MONTH in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Unclean water claims a slightly smaller number spreading diseases like cholera, dysentery, parasites, and diarrhea. AIDS and other diseases also take their toll of the young and old.

Children in poor families tend to suffer the most. The children end up fetching water, often walking a kilometer or more to fill a jerry can with dirty water and then carry it back home. It is not unusual to find that children spend 1000 hours a year just fetching water. This is time when they are not in school, getting the education they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Young girls are the targets of older men for sex, spreading disease and getting them pregnant resulting in no education.

Children work in the fields to help their families.

Children cannot attend school because their families cannot afford school supplies or uniforms.

The poor have the least control over their lives. The disasters are many:

  • they get sick and cannot plant their crops
  • the middleman does not give them a fair price for their crops
  • the government is corrupt and funds to help the poor never reach them
  • a change in climate can devastate their crops
  • women and girls have very few real rights
  • disease destroys their farm animals