Vicious cycle of poverty: What can be done about it?
Philosopher George Farquhar once said, “There’s no scandal like rags, nor any crime so shameful as poverty.” Oftentimes, scandals fade away with the passage of time, but not poverty. Poverty devastates its victims, and oftentimes it transmits its destruction onto their children in a vicious cycle, continuing its effect through generations. Being trapped in poverty is like getting sucked in a dark hole, where one can hardly see the bottom. With the light at the end of the tunnel so bleak for so many poor Ethiopians, I often ask myself what can be done to stop the cycle.
I come from a country, Ethiopia, where poverty is rampant, and the country still suffers from preventable ...view middle of the document...
There are no easy steps that one can follow to tackle and break the vicious cycle of poverty. But looking closely into the lives of many school-age children in Ethiopia in my student life, I have come to understand that one of the many causes of such a cyclic poverty is transitory social disadvantages. By this I mean that if their parents are trapped in poverty, most of the children who come from low-income families are also at a disadvantage since school. I remember some of the classmates I had in my school years who came from such a family background. Often, they come to school feeling ravenous and with low self-esteem. They had to compete with other students who could dress well and didn’t have to worry about their next meal or paying their tuition fees. Most of them obviously dropped out of school, and I believe it was as much the psychological trauma of feeling inferior that made them fly away as the actual poverty. And when one fails to get education, there is a high probability that the person would become poor. This situation still boggles my mind immensely, and I think not only about the few classmates I had had in the past but also the millions children like them in Ethiopia who seem to be destined to be bound by cyclic poverty.
The solution to break the cycle of poverty is many and intertwined, and there are no one-size-fits-all set of rules to be followed to solve this problem. However, undertaking studies on most vulnerable social groups such as female-headed households and unemployed youth and designing programs to improve the education, health and economic status of disadvantaged populations are some of the fundamental initiatives that need to be considered to break the cycle.