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HOPE Employees Experience Poverty through Simulation

HOPE International Poverty StimulationIn late August, a few HOPE International employees “left” first-world America and spent 30 minutes getting a first-hand experience of third-world poverty.

They found themselves in families and were set to work making newspaper and paste bags. Any family who couldn’t make and sell enough bags to nearby shop owners was left to bargain with cell phones, keys, kidneys or themselves to pay the loan sharks’ exorbitant fees. When the money inevitably ran out, families were kicked out of their tarp homes and relegated to living under a bridge.

Facilitated by the Crossroads Foundation, this 30 minute poverty simulation offered employees a small taste of the kind of poverty HOPE tries to relieve across the world. Once time ran out, facilitators dropped the thug/loan shark façade and helped participants process the experience.

I believe so strongly in the work of HOPE around the world, and this kind of experience helps us to have genuine compassion for the people we serve by making the reality of their lives a reality to us.

It’s easy to separate ourselves from the fear and desperateness of poverty. It’s easy to make poverty an abstract concept across the world and to judge the desperate actions of the impoverished. The problem with that kind of mindset is that poverty is not theoretical. Poverty has a face and a name—a million, ten million, one billion, faces and names—each of whom is grappling to survive.

Let’s not let ourselves get so caught up in charity that we become apathetic about the reality of poverty and the need for genuine compassion. HOPE International is working across the world to change lives and eradicate poverty, and you can too.

Until next time,

Jeff Rutt