Optimism can sail us through the troubled waters of poverty, but needs action for company. Explore the realms that lie therein
A critique at poverty
Poverty is generally considered to be the condition of not having access to wealth or commodities. This is a result of low income. Increasing poverty leads to increase in crimes, which people are forced to resort to, in order to earn. So rate of poverty needs to be reduced to decrease the crime rate. While this is true, at its very root, poverty in reality exists beyond hunger, lack of shelter or assets. It is caused by lack of hope and is a state of the mind. Thus, to eradicate poverty, we need to restore hope and optimism before distribution of wealth and commodities. With hope comes confidence, ambition and a thirst to prove oneself.
Poverty can be overcome by building the feeling of optimism inside the hearts of people. Optimism is the tendency to look at the favourable side of life and expect the best from it. As one fails, he learns and proceeds towards success. This idea inspires us to remove all fear of failure, helping us to inch towards our goal. But being optimistic does not mean having big goals with zero effort; thinking that you can reach your destination if you are positive. Optimism is the positivity and along with self belief we have within ourselves, we put in our efforts to reach that goal.
Optimism has always helped people get through their tough times and achieve success. Instances are abound in every family where one has steered the family through troubled waters by sheer dint of optimism and positive efforts. Not being optimistic and losing hope makes us seep into depression and poverty. And people who are helpless end up taking up the wrong path.
Noteworthy contribution in eradication of poverty has been done by a non-governmental organization named BRAC, or Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. One of the largest non-governmental development organizations in the world, it was founded in 1972 by Sir Fazle Abed. The organization had phenomenal success in eradication of extreme poverty in rural Bangladesh. This was achieved primarily through a sequence of activities that instilled the feeling of optimism in people. Helping the poor with food or money essential for survival, is always useful. It is important to adopt a process that integrates them first with their immediate society- people of their class, and then with the community. Governments also allot funds in poverty reduction programs .However much of it gets wasted as the programs do not usually reach the poorest, thereby failing to have long term impact. It can be effective if those who are not suffering from extreme poverty , come forward and help them, but most importantly instill the feeling of optimism in them.
The magic of optimism
There is a segment of people known as the ultra poor. Ultra poor have been demarcated as those who eat below 80% of their energy requirements despite spending 80% or more of their income on food. In simpler terms, it translates to earning $1.25 or Rs 100 or less per day. The ambition towards positivity and optimism can improve the conditions of even the ultra poor helping in development of the world and the community. In India, 394 million people live in ultra poverty, which is not a result of lack of wealth or commodities, but hopelessness, self doubt and pessimism.
Optimism is that force that can cause miracles. It can turn the weak strong, the powerless powerful, darkness into light.
About the authors
The article has been contributed by the following students from St Josephs High School, Matigara, Darjeeling: Ashwika Agarwal, Shreejata Kundu and Sanbartika Ghosh.