The most widely held and understood definition of extreme poverty, established by the World Bank, defines poverty in strictly economic terms — earning less than $2 a day. In the community that we serve the majority of families live on less than $2 a day working at a nearby trash dump, or selling in the streets. Without God and education their children will continue in the same definition of poverty.
When it comes to school, many governments provide education, but parents have to provide uniforms, books and fees – as they do in many developed countries as well. What is difficult to provide for many low-income families in the developed world is completely impossible to provide for parents who earn only two dollars a day. And thus, children are left uneducated and perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
The scale of the problem is also a factor to consider. In the U.S., fewer than one in 10 people live below the poverty line, defined as $12,486 a year for one person. Compare that to Nicaragua where 30 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
The U.S. government is able to provide some services as a safety net that many developing countries can’t (or won’t). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help people in poverty here – we definitely should! But it makes a compelling case for also caring for people who are in desperate situations elsewhere.
In the Bible, God speaks often of the poor and needy. He commands us to give generously to them and to speak up on their behalf. To help you connect with God's heart for the poor, we providing some bible verses on how He asks us to relate to and serve the less fortunate among us.
You Are the Light of the World.
You Can Help Set the Oppressed Free.
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
— Isaiah 58:6-11
Nicaragua – a country of 6.1 million people – is the second poorest in the Americas after Haiti. Nicaragua has more than 2 million school-aged children, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco. Half of all children and adolescents live in poverty.
Unicef, estimates that 500,000 Nicaraguan children aged three to 17 are not in the educational system. Most live in rural areas, or are poor, indigenous or disabled.
Business leaders currently estimate that there are between 250,000 and 320,000 child workers with one in three under 14.
Only 72% of children finished primary school in 2009, the latest year for which data is available. This low figure hides bigger inequalities as only 65% of children from the poorest 20% of families completed primary school compared to 98% from the richest homes.
Secondary school figures are unsurprisingly much worse:
46% finished the first tier (9th grade/year 10), and only 19% completed 11th grade (year 12). In the poorest families, only 6% of children finished secondary school.
A lack of education not only scuppers a child’s chances, but also the chances of their children. Failing to make an effort in this generation, also fails the next. Help us fulfill our vision of every child receiving a Christ Center Education so that they have the chance to graduate.