Poverty Reinforcement


How does giving handouts reinforce poverty?

Imagine someone with a severely broken arm. They are screaming in pain and every move they make hurts, so they stop moving. You come along, you aren’t a doctor but you do have some pain meds. You have friends back home with pain meds too and they are willing to help out. So you start dolling out a consistent amount of pain meds to keep your new friend painless.

Eventually, one of two things will happen: 1) The arm heals improperly and will never function the right way again. 2) Bone fragments enter the blood stream and the patient dies a slow death, without ever knowing it.

You see the correlation?  Handouts dull the pain of poverty enough to keep the underlying issues below the surface. When we hand things out, it may feel good, but we are driving communities around the world farther and farther into poverty.

If the irony of hurting those we set out to help doesn’t keep you up at night, I’d say you’re in this for the wrong reasons.


2 thoughts on “Poverty Reinforcement

  1. This. This so much. This is so much of a burden for me because my friends expect handouts, but I find little change from it. There’s needed balance. I would never let a child bleed to death without a hospital bill paid for. Yet at the same time, families need to help themselves. In particular, in SE Asia, the people are really laid back and lazy. Many people could double their salaries with learning more management skills. But they don’t want to because they are very lazy people.

    I had a far fetched dream of starting an entrepreneur school for young adults in Asia. But who knows what God might bring.

  2. There has to be some degree of responsibility on our part in helping people that actually want help. It’s like when Jesus told the disciples to travel from place to place spreading the message. If a certain town wasn’t interested, he told them to shake the dust off their feet and head to the next town. He never asked us to serve people who didn’t want our service – doing so is probably frustrating for both parties!

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