Hot to stop the poverty cycle

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many social issues to the surface—none more than breaking the poverty cycle and education.

To understand a cycle of poverty, one needs to understand poverty in the developing world. This does not infer the developed world is free from poverty. However, sometimes we have to look at extreme examples to put a concept like this into perspective.

What is The Cycle of Poverty?

When a child is born into an impoverished family, they enter the first phase of a long and challenging cycle that can run for generations. When a family lives in poverty, they usually have very limited or no access to resources. This means they have few opportunities to further themselves, leaving the entire family fastened tightly in the poverty trap.

According to World Vision, California, the cycle of poverty is defined as:

“...a phenomenon where poor families become impoverished for at least three generations.”

This is why so many charities and NGO’s focus on ways to break the poverty cycle. It is certainly why the Right To Learn Foundation has such a strong focus on education. 

What Life is Like in The Cycle of Poverty for Children

Myanmar Migrant Child Fron Right To Learn Foundation

Children living and growing up in this vicious cycle are at a significant disadvantage in life due to factors including:

  • Malnutrition – caused by hunger and low food sources.

  • Higher Rates of Illness– caused by lack of nutrition and unsanitary living conditions.

  • Lack of Education– due to underfunded schools in poor rural areas, living too far from schools to travel, the need to care for younger siblings at home or the need to work and support the family.

  • Inadequate Healthcare– poor rural communities often lack adequate healthcare services. Visiting clinics and hospitals can be costly and difficult to obtain for the impoverished.

It only takes one minor accident or illness in the family for an impoverished child to go hungry. If a child falls over in an unsanitary environment, an infection can take hold very quickly. An injury we can easily treat at home in a developed country can start a chain of events that end in illness, hunger or death in the developing world.

2020 Extreme Poverty Statistics

At the beginning of 2020, Concern Worldwise US says that:

“Just over 588 million people are living in extreme poverty, meaning that approximately 7.7% of the global population lives below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. Put another way, 588 million people presently have a lack of basic assets and/or do not see a return on the assets they have. For most people, this forms a cycle of poverty…”

What is important to recognise is that the level of vulnerability has risen significantly for children living in poverty since the onslaught of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

How Does Education Help to Break The Poverty Cycle?

Myanmar Migrant child in Thailand

Education can play a key role in ending the cycle of poverty for families living in developing countries like Thailand, where we currently focus our charity projects. 

3 Ways an Impoverished Child Can Benefit From Education:

1. Safety and Support

Children from poor families are more vulnerable to instances of sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse, injury and illness. A strong community school creates a safe place for children and families to go during a crisis. Children are not left at home alone while parents work but are in school with adult supervision. Schools are usually child safety conscious in design and can be used for other community activities for families, like sport and a playground. 

2. Increased Future Employment Opportunities

The more skilled children in a family that can read, write, problem solve and have higher comprehension skills, the faster that family and future generations will be lifted out of the poverty cycle. This is because the children will be employable in higher-paying jobs as adults and will have access to better opportunities than their parents.

3. Creates a Culture of Education and Learning Within Families

Education is often overshadowed in poor households where day to day survival is the main focus. Uneducated parents are far less likely to prioritise school attendance, encourage high school and break traditional gender roles so their daughters can learn.

When a child is successfully educated they are more likely to pass on their knowledge to their own children in the future. They are more likely to expose their children to more enhanced learning experiences from a younger age. Education is likely to become a larger priority and expectation in their family culture.

When children born into poverty are sent to school, they have the ability to change the educational culture within their families. 

Education breaks the poverty cycle

How Can You Help?

4 Ways You Can Help Charities Break The Poverty Cycle:

1. Share, Follow and Talk About Them Online

By going to a charity’s social media pages and making an effort to follow, like, share and comment, you can help spread the word about their mission giving these children a voice.

Volunteer or Donate Your Time! 

Small charities are usually underfunded and cannot afford the cost of administration, experts in advertising, social media and graphic design. If you can’t travel to your charity, perhaps you have a skill you could use online? 


3. Donate or Fundraise Through Friends & Family

There are so many ways to raise money online these days. Take a look here to get some ideas of what you could do.

4. Sponsor a Child, Teacher or Education Project

Sponsorships are recurring donations that go to a specific child, teacher or project. If you like to know exactly where your money is going when you make a donation, this is a great way to donate to a cause. Sponsors are treated like charity members and are communicated with regularly with updates and inside information regarding the direct impact your money is having. You can take a look at the types of sponsorships we have available at Right To Learn Foundation to get a better idea of what it means to be a charity sponsor.