Poverty means more than not having enough money

On a deeper level, poverty is the state of not having access to opportunities to improve your situation and take control of your future. Globally, more than 783 million people are living in extreme poverty, meaning they are unable to meet their basic needs. This means individuals and families must go without adequate food, shelter and clean water. Often, paying for school fees or hospital bills is out of the question.

Without equal access to social resources like education, jobs, and financial literacy skills, poverty creates a cycle where children born into poor families have fewer opportunities to succeed as adults. Women have less access to social and economic resources, even though studies show that when women gain access to paid work, economies grow.

Fast facts

  • Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 (approximately £1.50) per day.

  • 171 million people would be lifted out of poverty if every child in low-income countries finished school with basic literacy. That’s a 12% drop in poverty worldwide.

  • 80% of people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas and are mostly employed in the agricultural sector. Over half of those living in extreme poverty are under 18-years-old.

  • The world’s richest 26 people hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s 3.8 billion poorest people.

Communities can break free from poverty

Ending poverty once and for all means equipping families with the resources they need to send their children to school, plan for emergencies and maintain development projects without ongoing aid.

When families have access to the resources to meet their basic needs, they no longer have to choose between water or food; school or medicine. They gain the power to take control of their future. That’s why WE Villages, our sustainable development model, focuses on five Pillars of Impact: Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity. Working in tandem, these pillars lift communities out of poverty, for good.

Learn more about our international development model, WE Villages.

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