Poverty of being is often a bigger struggle in the lives of those living in material poverty than the actual material poverty. For many people who live in material poverty there is a poverty of being that affects all aspects of their lives. Check out some of these quotes from a World Bank study (also quoted in When Helping Hurts):
* For a poor person everything is terrible – illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of. – Moldova
* When I don’t have any [food to bring my family], I borrow, mainly from neighbors and friends. I feel ashamed standing before my children when I have nothing to help feed the family. – Guinea-Bissau
* During the past two years we have not celebrated any holidays with others. We cannot afford to invite anyone to our house and we feel uncomfortable visiting others without bringing a present. The lack of contact leaves one depressed, creates a constant feeling of unhappiness, and a sense of low self-esteem. – Latvia
From these quotes, it is obvious that for people living in material poverty, the poverty they experience is much more than the material poverty that is apparent to our eye. There is a decreased sense of self-worth and belonging to a larger culture that negatively impacts how materially poor people interact with the world around them and their own life situations. This is why For the Love of Missions is committed to a holistic approach to discipleship and poverty alleviation. The local leaders we partner with are invested in the communities they work. They see the material poverty, but don’t let that define their neighbors. They journey in relationship discerning when a material issue could impact a non-material poverty, knowing that stuff is not the root cause of the daily struggle.