Written by Jamilah Zubir

Poverty is a global issue where it is still faced by big parts of the world to date. To be precise, countries like Asia and the Pacific, Sub – Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, near East and North Africa and few developed countries are still in poverty. Even though we are living in the 21st Century where futuristic technologies come in existence, foods are produced millions in productions and so much more but poverty still remains. Why? Are we born in this world based on whether we are unlucky or not?  My perception on poverty is that the difference is whether you are living in Malaysia means you are safe from poverty and if you’re born in Africa, your chances living in poverty is high.

Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter.  However, poverty is more, much more than just not having enough money. The World Bank Organization describes poverty in this way, poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.

There is no one cause of poverty, and it is different in every case. Poverty varies considerably depending on the situation. Feeling poor in Canada is different from living in poverty in Russia or Zimbabwe.  The differences between rich and poor within the borders of a country can also be great.

Despite the many definitions, one thing is certain, poverty is a complex societal issue. No matter how poverty is defined, it can be agreed that it is an issue that requires everyone’s attention.  It is important that all members of our society work together to provide the opportunities for all our members to reach their full potential. It helps all of us to help one another.


Facts about poverty

  • Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day).
  • 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  • More than 1 billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water and an estimated 400 million of these are children. Because unclean water yields illness, roughly 443 million school days are missed every year.
  • In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
  • 870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • Preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
  • As of 2011, 19 million children worldwide remain unvaccinated.
  • A quarter of all humans lived without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people.
  • 80 percent of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.
  • It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country.
  • The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.


The world’s population is in poverty, most of them. This should not be the case where we live in a world full of resources. We were taught since in pre – school that sharing means caring and we should share what we have to people around us. Why does well developed countries do not help the poor countries and if they did help them, why are the poor countries still remain in poverty. What values that we instil in our country? Although the realisation on poverty is high among other countries, there are still people living in poverty.