The Community Action Poverty Simulation Kit from Missouri Association for Community Action provides a glimpse into the challenges individuals and families in poverty face every day. I purchased a kit in 2011, and am facilitating a simulation in West Des Moines in November. I helped out with poverty simulations in their early years at Iowa State University, and recognized some of their power for changing the way we view those who face each month without sufficient resources to make it through.
This morning I had a flash of realization as I wrote the marketing brochure for the program. This new program does have the capacity for system change. Perhaps we can stop blaming the victims, and take steps to “provide a decent standard of living for all mankind,” in Norman Borlaug‘s words.
I’ve spent a little time in Zambia, where I stayed with a family much poorer than any I know here. Their generosity touched my heart deeply, but they are not my neighbors. There is a limit to how much I can help them.
Here in Iowa, within a few miles of my home, there are thousands of people barely getting by day to day in the richest country in history. Yet, we show little generosity to them. In fact, we often hold them in contempt.
John F. Kennedy said, “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.” Even more than 50 years after his death, we have made little progress toward abolishing poverty. Indeed, we have gone backward.
I offer this post as a resource for connecting with knowledge and research, opportunities to help, and opportunities to advocate. Please help me build it, with links and ideas I may have missed.
- An online challenge–Play Spent
- Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity in Iowa
- Iowa Community Action Association
- Losing Our Way, by Bob Herbert, about the disparity between the wealthy and the poor
- Move the Food, working toward the day when everyone in central Iowa has enough to eat
- Poverty, Wikipedia