What’s the problem? Cycles of poverty


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Poverty is one of the socio-economic factors that we discussed earlier. A cycle of poverty is what happens when where poor families become impoverished for at three or more generations.

This means enough time passes that the family includes no surviving ancestors who possess and can transmit the intellectual, social, and cultural capital necessary change their impoverished condition.

This is the kind of poverty trap that many low-income families find themselves in. They often don’t have the resources to get out of poverty, such as education, savings, or connections.

Students from families who are trapped in this kind of vicious cycle are more likely to struggle with literacy and numeracy as adults.

Often, people trapped in a cycle of poverty need some kind of outside intervention to help break out of it.

Early childhood intervention is a key strategy in breaking the poverty trap. Foundation focused adult education that includes literacy and numeracy is another strategy.

Some questions to think about

Let’s pause again and think about your own learners. The questions below are not assessed, but thinking about your answers to them will help you with the assessment task.

  1. Do you have learners who seem trapped by cycles of poverty?
  2. Is there a framework or approach that you could use that would allow you to work with your learners from a more holistic perspective?
  3. What other support services, either inside or outside your organisation, could you promote to your learners?

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