The Complexity of Poverty

This video clip from, "Living on One Dollar," explains some ways we can misunderstand poverty when we don't hear people's stories.

The documentary "Living on One Dollar" follows four college students on their summer adventure to try living on one dollar a day in Guatemala. Because those living in extreme poverty often never know when they'll get paid, they drew a number from a hat each day that would be their income for that day. While they were trying to replicate the experience for themselves, they also interviewed Guatemalans in the village where they were staying.

In this clip from "Living on One Dollar," Zach Ingrasci shares about his experience in realizing that poverty is complex and affects more than just survival through those interviews.



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Reflecting on the Complexity of Poverty

This reflection can be used with "Living on One Dollar" to consider the too often negative ways we view people in poverty.

  • How do we avoid thinking of poverty as solely an issue of survival?
  • What is the difference between surviving and flourishing?
  • Can we adequately understand how poverty affects people if we haven't built a relationship with them?
  • What responsibility do people of faith have in serving the poor?
  • How do we respond to poverty when so many are affected? Is it okay to be overwhelmed by the size of the issue?
  • What can we do to hear the stories of people living in poverty within our communities?

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Take Action

Actively Learning About Poverty

This action relates to "The Complexity of Poverty" and shares ways to get involved in learning what poverty means in our communities and beyond.

Poverty is a complex issue. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by how much needs to be done, but the first step to making a difference is making sure we are informed. Here are a few things we can do to make sure we are actively learning about poverty:

  1. Watch "Living on One Dollar" and "Poverty, Inc." You can also organize a screening of "Living on One Dollar" and "Poverty, Inc." in your community.
  2. Learn more about the practices of the organizations you already support. Do they value the stories of the people they are serving?
  3. Get plugged in with local organizations serving the poor.
  4. Check out "When Helping Hurts" and "Toxic Charity."
  5. Ask questions!

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