Ugandan kids aren’t just like slightly poorer British kids

If you are a regular here you may be aware by now that I blog at BIRDS ON THE BLOG.

I recently wrote about appropriate gifts to send an African child and the discussion that followed led to one of the guests on the blog to point out that “Ugandan kids aren’t just like slightly poorer British kids”

Child on the street, one common scene used by ...
Image via Wikipedia

This got me thinking about about the whole notion of poverty!

What is being being poor?

Is being poor in Britain the same as being poor in Uganda?

In my mind being poor is a relative concept, for people in the developing world anyone that lives in Britain for instance is not poor and will never be as poor as “we are ” If only they knew that this was not necessarily the case!

My own work with the Homeless people in this country (UK) has brought me face to face with extremely poor people but the difference between being poor in this country and say most African countries is that we have the Social security system to fall back onto and therefore it is unlikely that anyone in this country would face the sort of poverty faced by some in the developing world.

The other thing too is determining who is poor? Is being poor the inability to for instance access a decent education, health care, or perhaps the lack of a roof over your head? If so I would say we have plenty of those here in the west.

I saw families who had no hope in hell of lifting themselves out of poverty because ( as far as I could see) they were trapped by the system. The state had provided them with temporary accommodation leased from the private sector because this was deemed better than Bed and Breakfast. It was indeed better especially for children.

The rents in this type of accommodation average £450 a week in some cases, meaning that families had to rely on Housing Benefit to meet their rent. They could not go to work as they had no chance of bringing in enough income to cover the rent and have enough left over for anything else.

In fact it was best for these folk to stay at home until they moved into council owned housing where the rents were cheaper, even if this took 5 or 10 years!

Systemic poverty?

Are people in Britain poor because of systems?

Surely it is not that simple?

Why are people in Africa poor then?

Have they too become poor because of the system?

What does being poor really mean?

Is it better to be poor in a hot or cold country?

Please help me unpack this!

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