on this earth has the same basic needs; it is only our circumstances
that are different. As we gathered today, you were given
your lot in this world that has been created. Look around,
as you can see that equality and balance dont exist
is important to notice that no one section of this room
represents one country. Every country around the world has
people who fall into the income groups represented today.
I want to introduce the three segments of the world to you.
near the high-income group)
group represents 15 percent of the worlds population
with a per capita income of $8,900 or more. As a group,
your income group is able to afford a nutritious daily diet.
You have access to the best medical care. You were born
destined to go to school; the only uncertainty is how many
years will you study after high school.
part of this income group your family has access to credit
and money that most others do not. You and your family live
in comfortable and secure housing. Your parents own at least
one car, and probably have two televisions. When your family
takes their annual two-week vacation, your parents dont
worry about their jobs disappearing.
a good life because you and your family have access to everything
you need and security to enjoy it.
near the middle-income group)
group represents roughly 30 percent of the worlds
population. Your parents earn between $725 and $8,900 a
year. The levels of access and security you and your family
enjoy vary greatly. You are the folks who live on the edge.
It would take losing only one harvest to drought, or a serious
illness, to throw you and your family into poverty.
parents may work as day laborers, domestic help, or perhaps
as migrant workers. You may go to school - for a few years
anyway - especially if you are a boy. Your parents were
born into this harsh life and hope that you will have an
opportunity for a better one.
family probably owns no land and lives in overcrowded housing
with shoddy plumbing. Your village or town offers electricity,
but your family must ration their use. If only your parents
could get better skills training, they might have a chance
at a higher-paying job. Maybe, if your family is lucky,
your parents can find a way to join a community credit group
to get access to a small loan.
like everyone stuck in the middle, your family feels squeezed,
and they just hope that the bottom doesnt fall out
from their world.
near the low-income group)
group represents the majority of the worlds population
- roughly 55 percent. The average income is $725 a year
- about $2 a day - although many of your familys earn
much less. Most of you are from poor countries such as Ethiopia,
Bangladesh, Haiti, or Cambodia.
is a struggle for your family to meet their basic needs.
Finding food, water, and shelter can consume your day. For
many mothers, it would not be uncommon to walk five to 10
miles to find clean water; spend several more hours working
in the fields and of course taking care of the children.
School is a luxury few of you will ever experience. Most
of you girls dont even bother to dream about school.
Healthcare is out of the question, so for most families
death is all too familiar, with families expecting to lose
two to three of their children before they turn five.
of your familys are homeless or living in structures
so flimsy that a hard rain or strong wind becomes life threatening.
Many of you are frequently hungry. It is quite likely that
your family doesnt get the minimum number of calories
their hardworking life requires.
your parents do work, they are probably tenant farmers or
landless day workers. They reap few benefits from the crops
they work on; they would prefer to grow food for you to
the entire group)
one can choose the circumstances into which they are born.
to the low-income group and ask any girl to stand.)
are Jant Omar. You live in Zaire, Africa. You live a hard
life. As a girl at the age of 13, you were told you had
to quit school to help your mother find clean water and
food each day. You dont think this is fair, because
your older brother still attends school, but your mother
is sick and needs help with the daily chores to feed the
family. You feel hopeless about your situation, and dont
see a bright future ahead for yourself.
to the low-income group and ask any boy to stand.)
are Jose Martin. Your dad was hurt today at his job picking
coffee, which allowed him to provide the basics for your
family in El Salvador. He does not have enough money to
go and see a doctor and he is worried about where the money
will come if he cannot work while recovering. You are also
worried about what will happen to your family if your father
to the low-income group and ask any girl to stand.)
are Anna Hernandez. You live down the street from Jose and
your parents eke out a living selling fruit grown in their
yard at a local market each day. Because Jose and many of
your parents customers have been laid off from the nearby
coffee plantation they are buying less from your parents,
and they wont be able to afford enough corn for your
to the middle-income group and ask any boy to stand.)
are Sam Baker. You live in a big city in America with your
mom who works at a clothing factory. You have all your basic
needs met, but your mom never feels quite secure. She would
like to buy your own car but cant seem to save enough
money ever and the bank wont give her a loan.
to the middle-income group and ask any girl to stand.)
are Katrina Vaclavkova. You live in the Czech Republic.
Your mother is a nurse and father is an accountant. You
are able to buy clothes, music and other things that you
want. Your family lives in a nice apartment. You attend
a good school and all of your needs are met.
to the high-income group and ask any boy to stand.)
are Edward Simpson. You live in England with your family.
Your parents both have very high-paying jobs and your and
your 3 sisters are more than provided for. Your family lives
in a big house, has three cars, and a housekeeper. You receive
a weekly allowance from your parents.
the entire class)
is just a brief glimpse at how people live around the world.
As we look into the different origins of poverty, I would
like you to think about these characters that you have just
been introduced to.
from Oxfam International - Hunger Banquet