The Power of One

Poverty is the open-mouthed relentless hell which yawns beneath civilized society. And it is hell enough.”

Henry George~  (Progress and Poverty)

Why is it that here in the 21st century that we still must discuss the topic of poverty?  Why is it that here in the 21st century that we must still deal with poverty?  You’d think with all the great wealth that the western, industrialized nations possess that we’d be able to end poverty and all the negative aspects that come along with it.  Sure there is work being done in the world to combat this issue…but to fix this issue at its very core is something that will take time.

Africa is the poorest continent on the planet.  And when it comes to news or stories that come out of Africa, they are generally put on the back-burner and forgotten about.  Even if they do manage to make it to the general public, we usually don’t pay close attention.  Is that because this is what we have come to expect out of this region and that it will never change or is it because we don’t see Africa playing any significant part in our daily lives as we do the rest of the world…forgetting those diamonds and other gems that are found in your rings and other jewelry?  When it comes to poverty in Africa, we as a society tend to turn away.

There once was a time when Africa and Europe were at the same level technologically.  Both would have been an even match for each other.  But then Europe began making advancements and improving itself…and instead of sharing that knowledge with the rest of the world, they used it to conquer the world and enslave the people of a continent.  And still after a couple of centuries since the slave trade has ended, we are still trying to advance a continent to catch up to the modern times in terms of medicine, education, basic sanitation (which includes clean water), and the ability to sustain themselves overall.

When thinking of Africa and the issue of poverty, I often think of that verse in the Bible that states, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; Teach a man to fish, he eats for life.”  And I think that this is very true.  Through education and with a little help, Africa can pick itself up and become a major participant in the world.  If brought up, it could be a huge new market for goods.  And I do believe that it is up to us in the industrialized nations to teach the people of the vast continent “how to fish.”  But in doing so, we must also “give them the fish” to sustain them until they can sustain themselves.  Everything starts at the very bottom…education.  With that you begin to build, and with each generation, that knowledge begins to build.

It’s the people now that must be given a chance.  Help them get clean water to drink.  Help them learn about sanitation techniques.  Help them with food so that they aren’t going hungry every day.  Help them with medicine for diseases that we have cures for in our own nation.  It isn’t right for any person to suffer from diseases that we have beaten decades ago.  And all of this is connected with the one issue of poverty.  And most of us in this country…with all of its great wealth (even in this time of recession)…cannot even begin to fathom the living conditions of the poorest people of the world.  Even the poorest people here in our nation have better living conditions than the people do in Africa.  Even most of our pets eat better food than they do.

Some of them might even be happier with their simpler way of life rather than our version.  But when it comes to the basic necessities of life, there is no excuse.  Shelter, water, food, medicine…these are all important for all people.  People just like to feel that they are important at times.  And all the people of the world deserve to be active participants.

Now is not the time to turn that blind eye or to put it out of mind.  Now is the time to do some research and find out how you can help make that difference.  It all starts today and the future will be its own reward.  We all have our place.  We all have our cultures.  But when it comes to poverty, we should all have the same voice.   We have the ability within our society if we just put for the effort.  And it can begin with us…you and me…working together for the greater good of mankind.  With all of us doing our small part, the world can change for the greater good.  The power of billions can become the power of one.  You!

“Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”

Benjamin Franklin~

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One Response to The Power of One

  1. James S. says:

    And this is a good place to start… http://www.one.org/us/

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