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Understanding Poverty

When we look at the world, poverty can feel both deeply shocking and profoundly normal. We hear the statistics regularly: 10% of the global population live on less than $1.90 a day, while even in Canada a so-called ‘developed’ or ‘first-world’ country, 3.4 million people continue to live under the poverty line.

Most of us are used to a regular onslaught of images and stories in the media about poverty and disaster, and frequent requests for help. If Tearfund supporters’ response to such stories and appeals is anything to go by, the shock of being confronted with poverty does not seem to fade. As human beings, we instinctively understand that this is not how the world should be: people are not meant to live in poverty. 

This series presents Tearfund’s thinking about what poverty is and how we can best respond. It draws on years of experience and reflection and on conversations about these very questions with many different people: from those we are working with and serving in some of the world’s poorest communities, to development experts, church leaders and theologians, to politicians, academics and business leaders.

It describes our understanding of the nature and causes of poverty, and our vision for a future in which the whole of creation thrives. Subsequently, we explain how this vision can be pursued, with a particular focus on the part that we believe Tearfund is called and equipped to play. Finally, we conclude with some suggestions for how you can join Tearfund in this work, as individuals, and with your churches, focusing on prayer, giving and action.

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