When we think of the word “poverty”, we often talk about not having enough to eat. The truth is, it is much more than that.
With Anti-Poverty Week (Oct 12-18) just passing, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the real state of poverty.
Poverty can take many forms, and when we come to realise this, it’s easy to appreciate just how fortunate we are. Poverty includes the woman and her family escaping domestic violence and landing in homelessness, the youth who didn’t have access to as many opportunities during school and struggles to find work, the Aboriginal man or women experiencing years of exploitation and laters faces health issues.
It can be hard to overlook in Australia, considering our relative affluence. However, it still exists, in plenty of variations. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that 13% of the population lives in relative poverty. That’s around three million Aussies.
Those living in poverty face battles each day, both structural and personal, that make it difficult to carry one. They can have low paying jobs with meagre hours, or not even be paid at all. They may have a disability or suffer health problems. They may be struggling to make ends meet and afford the basics. Many are driven into a state of homelessness or live in insecure housing.
In these situations, it’s easy for them to feel alone, excluded and forgotten. Whichever way we want to measure it, by income of social inclusion, this gap between Australians is increasing. So what action can we take to stop this?
The first is to recognise that this disparity exists, even in our fortunate nation. Anti-Poverty Week was instrumental in raising awareness and driving action. It’s one thing to read about the state of our nation, but another to rise to the challenge and do something about it. Organise a forum, write a letter to your local paper, help raise funds for the disadvantaged.
Don’t be afraid to use your voice to make a difference. What are your ideas to tackle the issue of poverty? Share them in the comments below!