Since the making of the box-office hit film “Slum Dog Millionaire” there seems to have been a rash of documentaries and celebrities who are keen to travel to the slums of the world and tell us that people are happy there.
While we accept that the creativity, potential, innovativeness and sheer will to survive establishes communities of incredible character and ability in the most despairing of situations we would have to question the definition of ‘happy’ and ‘contentment’ in such a world of fear, disease and ever present threats to life and livelihood.
The story of the film highlighted levels of deprivation and depravity most of us would prefer not to imagine. While the mes
sage of the film, like those of the following documentaries, impressed on us that great works lie in the great hearts of ordinary people in the poorest circumstances.
Poverty has many causes. There are those that are situational, like the families forced from coastal homes into the cities of Bangladesh through rising flood levels. There are those that are outcast, like the babies born to young HIV mums in the mountains of Ethiopia. There are those whose lives have been page after page of abuse and neglect, like those victims of trafficking in Southern and Eastern Europe. None of these could be said to be “happy”! Lives of unrelenting poverty are torrid and demeaning. Often there is such a basic survival level it is akin to animal existence.
At PovertySwap we have learned that connecting to those who are working together with individuals, groups and communities living in poverty is a vital step in finding sustainable solutions and developing practical routes out of the deepest darkest situations. In so doing we are given simple opportunities to get personally involved in the transformation process. We call this the “PovertySwap”.
Our focus, in the bible’s Isaiah 61, suggests that when we partner with those who are living in poverty there will be an exchange – Beauty for Ashes, Joy for Mourning and Praise for Heaviness. There is the image of strength and true empowerment so that those same people will “rebuild the old ruins, raise up desolations and repair ruined cities”.
At PovertySwap we start with one step, one person, one community. Repair and restoration is only possible one stone at a time. Help us to Help Them Rebuild.