Thursday, 16 October 2008

The invisible blight of poverty

When you work in Queen Street, it's hard to avoid the homeless. It's just as hard to know what to do. Avert your eyes? Give a donation? Smile? Say hi? Or walk past, because you're busy.

It's uncomfortable seeing another human being in distress. Short-term distress would be okay, because you might be able to step in and "solve the problem". But generally the problems of the urban homeless are complex and deep-rooted.

Worse still is the kind of poverty you don't see - whether it's behind closed doors in the suburbs, or in some faraway country.

Today is Blog Action Day (it was yesterday in New Zealand; I'm playing catch up!). Bloggers were encouraged to spark conversation about the issue of poverty.

Sometimes poverty is pretty low on my agenda - just paying the bills and keeping up with deadlines captures my attention. But when something like this forces me to focus on poverty - what do I do? For a start, I'm bringing it to your attention. Maybe we can solve this together.

Here's a sampling of what other bloggers have been talking about:

Mama Lucy, a social entrepreneur from Tanzania, gives us the first-hand definition of poverty - and what it's not.

The UK's Paul Bradshaw shows us 88 ways to do something about poverty now.

Hitwise's Alan Long gives us an interesting view of poverty online.

In NZ, Annabel Youens muses on the effects of the recession on the world's poorest, and offers some thoughtful tips on giving well.

Robbie Mackay offers this quotable gem: "We’re so busy trying to ignore the problem, we forget that small contributions eventually add up…"

Ben Young talks about how marketing can help solve poverty.

Ilai Amir passionately puts forward that it is NOT OK that young children have NO OPTION but to go without.

And Stephen Knightly at Pursuit PR gives an overview of what Blog Action Day is, and what Pursuit PR is doing about it.

Lastly, Ilai shared an amazing set of images that show the faces of poverty around the world:

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Luigi said...

I was in town this morning when a guy who looked like he could have been homeless came up to me. I thought he was going to ask for money, but he just wanted to know where the nearest liquor store was.

as per my blog ealier this week: I will be buying some gifts to give to the City Mission this year

Stacey Monk said...

Thanks so much for pointing toward Mama Lucy's definition of poverty. I agree with her - it's less about material things, and more about the wealth of potential that lies in each on of us.