EPPN Lenten Series: Engaging Poverty at Home and Around the World
In this week’s reflection, we focus on global poverty. Patricia Kisare, Legislative Representative for International Policy for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, reflects on the progress that has been made in reducing extreme poverty around the world, outlines the challenges ahead, and offers an opportunity for advocacy.
“Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty”
“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the worlds’ goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” 1 John 3:16-17 (NRSV)The words “Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty” are enshrined on the walls of the World Bank building. Although I had seen them before, the meaning and symbolism of this phrase never truly struck me until a few weeks ago when I attended a meeting there. The slogan represents the overarching mission of the Bank- the largest multilateral institution tasked with the job of ending extreme poverty globally.
The World Bank reports that in the past twenty years, extreme levels of poverty in developing countries have been reduced tremendously. The Bank’s report on poverty eradication shows that between the years 1990 and 2010, 700 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty. The Bank measures extreme poverty as subsisting on $1.25 per day. Investments by governments, the private sector, churches like ours, and other non-governmental organizations have contributed to this progress.
However, approximately 1 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty. For them, having access to basic necessities is a constant challenge- many are forced to make impossible choices every day. As a consequence, people living in extreme poverty are often denied basic freedoms and human dignity that many of us enjoy.
What might a world “free of poverty” look like?
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