Extreme poverty: life on a $1.25 a day.
Living on $1.25 a day . . . You are a member of a household dependent on casual laboring in South Asia or subsistence cropping on a small plot of rain fed land in Africa. When times are good you eat two meals a day of rice or maize flour with a little chili or vegetable. When times are bad you eat one meal a day. Sometimes, when there is no work or the rains fail, you do without food or make do with leaves from the bush or scavenging. Meat and fish are rarely eaten – only at celebrations and feasts. The children in your household probably do not attend school – if they do, they will probably have to drop out before completing primary level. If someone gets sick then usually you wait until they get better . . . and pray. If someone is really sick then you sell assets (the spade, pans, title to you rhome plot) or borrow money to pay for a hospital visit. At the hospital you are made to feel a non-entity – made to wait in long queues, treated as an idiot, nothing is explained to you. You are accustomed to death – brothers, sisters, cousins, parents died when you were young – it just happens. You get to vote every few years in elections – but, you do not expect much of politicians. These people often pay violent gangs to help them get elected and they are known to be corrupt. What can you do? When you look out of the doorway in your leaky shack you worry about the unpaid rent and your outstanding emergency loans from relatives and traders. Your shack does not have electricity or sanitation – water comes irregularly from a communal pump 200 meters away provided by an NGO. If you could just get a job (as a poorly paid maid or a security guard) or just get control of the land your father mortgaged to a moneylender or just marry a good man, life would be so different – a pair of shoes, clothes for the baby or a savings deposit so you could join a micro-credit group. In the distance you see the vehicles flashing past on the newly tarmaced road – lucky people in overcrowded buses, off to do poorly paid but regular work in factories and offices in town; and important people, in business or related to politicians, in air-conditioned BMWs and Mercedes – wearing flashy clothes, eating pizza . . . thinking of going on a diet.
25% of the world, 1.377 billion people live in extreme poverty – $1.25/day
47% of the world, 2.562 billion people live in poverty – $2/day
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.” -Helder Camara, Former Bishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil
Excerpt from: Global Poverty, How global governance is failing the poor ~David Hulme