Do you remember your favorite book when you were learning to read as a child? Visualize it. It probably had bright, colorful pictures to illustrate the story. Likely your parents read it to you before bed, or you curled up to engross yourself in it in a cozy reading corner of your elementary school classroom with beanbag chairs or plush carpet.
But what if you didn’t have a book like that? Or what if you did but your parents couldn’t read it to you? This is often the reality for children growing up in Nepal. Children have school books that are black and white text and don’t have pictures and colors to engage their senses, and they often don’t have access to storybooks. This has a long-term impact, as only 59.63 percent of adults in Nepal are literate — only 48.84 percent for women.
This was the reality for Jhalak, a third-grade student living in Sindhuli, eastern Nepal. He struggled to even read his own name, and many of his friends couldn’t either. Because of the importance of literacy and struggles with it around the world, World Vision began a program to boost literacy and increase reading rates.
There are three main ways World Vision helps to do this: training teachers with more engaging methods, establishing reading camps outside of schools, and helping parents create a nurturing environment at home that encourages reading. The result? In two years, children who participated in the program read 1.5 times better than children who didn’t participate. Nationally, the stats are all moving in the right direction:
Children who can read with comprehension by sixth grade has increased by 8.1 percent.
First grade promotion rates have increased from 78.4 percent in 2014 to 83.1 percent in 2016.
Enrollment rates for sixth through eighth grades increased from 74.6 percent to 80.2 percent in two years.
Children ages 5 to 12 who are out of school has dropped from 15 percent in 2014 to 11.3 percent.
Because of people like you who have given to World Vision’s programs, literacy rates are improving across Nepal. Here’s how the program works that’s making it happen.
The first part of the program focuses on providing training and materials for teachers to help them better engage children in learning and reading.
World Vision helped train 51 teachers from 20 schools in the Sindhuli district with more creative methods of teaching. Dipak Raj Pokhrel serves as the principal of Shree Mangala School and noted the change in his school after World Vision’s programming help.
“The entire concept of teaching and learning has changed here,” he says. “Now students are taught through interesting approaches such as singing, dancing, and playing.”
One student, Ganga, says, “I like it when I get to sing and dance in the class. I do not feel like I am studying.”
Yet Ganga is learning and showing great signs of improvement through the new teaching methods. Her teacher, Shanta Dahal, says, “Ganga used to be a slower learner in the beginning. She had difficulty learning and memorizing new words, but now she is learning fast after we began teaching her through songs, dance, and games.”
“We only get to see attractive, colorful books in expensive private schools . . . ,” Shanta says. “Because of this, the children also felt discouraged at times. Moreover, the children who come to this school are usually from poor families who cannot afford to pay fees of expensive private schools. But now, with all these new books and learning materials, we feel as if our school is no less than any private school. The quality of education has improved for sure.”
Dipak has noticed a measurable difference across all the classes as well.
“The learning ability and speed of students [learning] has really improved,” he says. “Their grades are gradually improving too.”
During an event at the school, Yadav Prasad Acharya, section officer from the ministry of education, visited and was impressed with the changes he saw.
“A building is only the body of the school, but the real soul is the learning process,” Yadav says. “I am happy World Vision has supported not only the body but also the soul of this school by enhancing the learning process through child-friendly teaching initiatives.”
On the other side of the country in Kailali district, 9-year-old Prem and his parents were visiting his cousins in a neighboring community. But upon arriving, Prem suddenly realized it was Saturday. He had to leave. He asked his cousin to borrow a bike, and he rode all the way back home — so he could attend reading camp.
Reading camps are the second component of the program and provide another space for children to practice reading and further learn outside the formal school environment. Volunteer teachers lead children in songs, drawing, and other activities all designed to help them learn to read. Kids can also make resources to take home that will help them practice learning their letters and words.
Prem doesn’t enjoy attending school, but he loves attending reading camp. So every Saturday, he spends 90 minutes at the program learning from Raj Kumari, the facilitator.
“Even when the 90-minute class finishes, they want to stay more and learn more,” Raj says. “We usually have to stay for a longer time.”
She says when the program started, she had about five students attending, and now she has about 30. Hers is one of more than 442 reading camps across the country. In Kailali alone, more than 2,300 children participate.
Now Prem regularly brings home drawings to decorate his family’s house, and he often teaches his father, Dipendra, the songs he learns at reading camp.
“He can read better; he can draw better,” Dipendra says. “ . . . I am very happy with the changes in him.”
Back in Sindhuli, since 2016, more than 780 children like Jhalak have participated in reading camps. There, he learned how to pronounce words and how to write them from a volunteer teacher named Dor Kumari.
“My reading camp teacher is very loving and patient,” Jhalek says. “I used to be embarrassed when someone would ask me to read, but I don’t feel that way anymore.”
Dor, Raj, and other reading camp teachers spend a lot of time not only with the kids but also educating the whole community to become involved in children’s learning. Each month, the camp teachers meet with parents and formal teachers to discuss how children are improving at school and suggest ways to continue fostering it.
Teachers have conducted more than 150 reading awareness workshops to help parents better understand how to promote literacy at home.
One of those ways is the third component of the program: reading corners in children’s homes. These corners are designated spaces where children can study, practice reading, and where parents can spend time with them and encourage their learning. It gives the children spaces where they can hang the resources they receive and projects they make at reading camp to create a consistent study space. In Sindhuli, families created more than 140 reading corners to bolster learning at home. Jhalak’s mom, Chitra Kumari, saw a difference in her children after creating a reading corner.
“It has been very beneficial, as my children love to study surrounded by interesting reading materials that they can point to and read,” she says. “I try to sit with Jhalak and his sister every evening when they are studying in the reading corner.
“In a matter of months, their reading skills have improved. I am very proud of my son.”
And Jhalak isn’t a one-off example. On top of the national stats, in Jhalak’s district alone, the number of children who can read with comprehension by sixth grade has improved from 56.4 percent in 2014 to 71.4 percent in 2016. And numbers are similar in Prem’s community as well, going from 33.3 percent in 2014 to 49.4 percent in 2017.
As this literacy programming continues, more children will come to cherish the joy of reading and the opportunities it presents as they grow up.
Barun Bajracharya and Nissi Thapa of World Vision’s staff in Nepal contributed to this story.
The world is making huge strides in overcoming global poverty. Since 1990, a quarter of the world has risen out of extreme poverty. Now, less than 10 percent of the world lives in extreme poverty, surviving on $1.90 a day or less.
When families move out of poverty, children’s health and well-being improve. Since 1990, the number of children dying — mostly from preventable causes such as poverty, hunger, and disease — is less than half of what it was, dropping from more than 35,000 a day to under 15,000.
World Vision is committed to ending poverty and helping every child experience Jesus’ promise of life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Though eradicating global poverty is hard, particularly in fragile contexts, World Vision believes there is reason to hope.
1981: The World Bank began collecting data on global poverty. Mostly through household surveys, they found that 44 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty.
1990: The World Bank defined extreme poverty as people living on $1 or less a day. Around 1.85 billion people, or 36 percent of the world’s population, lived in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries lived on less than $1.25 a day.
1992: The U.N. adopted Agenda 21, committing to work together to combat global poverty using country-specific solutions.
1995: The United Nations brought together the largest gathering of world leaders until then, at the World Summit for Social Development, where leaders wrote the Copenhagen Declaration as a pledge to eradicate poverty.
2000: All 191 United Nations member states signed the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals to achieve by 2015, including reducing extreme poverty rates — then calculated as people living on less than $1 a day — by half.
2008: The World Bank re-established the international poverty line as people living on $1.25 a day, using 2005 prices for the cost of living. U.N. leaders declared the Second U.N. Decade for Eradication of Poverty from 2008 to 2017, expanding on the success of the first decade and focusing on jobs and income generation as a way to combat poverty.
More than half of the world’s extreme poor, 413 million people, live in sub-Saharan Africa, an increase of 9 million people from two years earlier.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the number of people living in extreme poverty nearly doubled in two years, from 9.5 million to 18.6 million, mainly due to the crises in Syria and Yemen.
Two regions, East Asia and the Pacific and Europe and Central Asia, have less than 3 percent of their populations living in extreme poverty, already successfully reaching the 2030 target to eradicate global poverty.
Learn more about World Vision’s work to eradicate global poverty.
Pray with us for World Vision’s work around the world using Matthew 25 prayer guides.
Give to bring lasting change around the world by delivering life-saving help where it’s needed most.
Sponsor a child to help provide access to essentials such as clean water, healthcare, economic opportunity, and education. For $39 a month, you’ll help that child and their community to stand tall, free from poverty.
Although poverty is often discussed in terms of dollar amounts, quality of life is also part of the conversation. Living in poverty means a life of struggle and deprivation.
Children living in poverty often lack access to a quality education. Sometimes it’s because there’s not enough quality schools, their parents cannot afford school fees, or because impoverished families need their children to work. Without a quality education, children grow up being unable to provide for their own children — thus the generational cycle of poverty.
Living in poverty also means not being able to afford a doctor or medical treatment. It means no electricity, limited shelter, and often little to no food on the table. For young children, improper nutrition can mean stunting and wasting that permanently impact their development. In impoverished countries where many people lack access to clean water and sanitation, poverty means the spread of preventable diseases and the unnecessary death of children.
Historically, poverty has been calculated based on a person’s income and how much he or she can buy with that income, but new multidimensional measures are more holistic.
Absolute poverty is when a person cannot afford the minimum nutrition, clothing, or shelter needs in their country.
Relative poverty is a household income below a certain percentage, typically 50 or 60 percent, of the median income of that country. This measurement takes into consideration the subjective cost of participating in everyday life. For example, plumbing is a necessity in some places; without plumbing, a person could be considered impoverished. However, in other places plumbing is a luxury. Relative poverty is useful for considering income inequality within a country.
Multidimensional poverty acknowledges that poverty isn’t always about income. Sometimes a person’s income might be above the poverty line, but their family has no electricity, no access to a proper toilet, no clean drinking water, and no one in the family has completed six years of school.
looks beyond income to measure a person’s healthcare, education, and living standards to determine poverty levels. It was developed in 2010 by the U.N. Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
Within the categories of health, education, and living standards, there are 10 key indicators of multidimensional poverty that include nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and assets. If a person is experiencing deprivation in three of more of these standards, then he or she is multidimensionally poor.
The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index offers a thorough look at poverty and can provide guidance for the specific interventions necessary in each country to eliminate poverty.
Poverty is measured by each country’s government, which gathers data through household surveys of their own population. Entities like the World Bank provide support and may conduct their own surveys, but this data collection is time-consuming and slow. New forms of high-frequency surveys using estimates and mobile phone technology are being developed and tested.
What is a poverty line, and how are poverty lines calculated?
A poverty line, also called a poverty threshold, is the line below which it is difficult, if not impossible, to afford basic needs. The poverty line is determined in each country by adding up the cost of meeting minimum needs, such as food and shelter. Household incomes that are too low to afford minimum needs, such as food and shelter, are below the poverty line.
The income necessary to afford meeting minimum needs typically sets the poverty line for a country. Poverty lines can then be compared between countries. The international poverty line is the standard poverty line for measuring poverty globally. However, relatively new measures such as the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index include measurements of health, education, and living standards, all as signs of poverty.
Poverty lines are not the same in all countries. In higher income countries, the cost of living is higher and so the poverty line is higher, too. In 2017, the World Bank announced new median poverty lines, grouping countries into low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries and finding the median poverty line for those groups:
$1.91 per person per day — in 33 low-income countries
$3.21 per person per day — in 32 lower-middle-income countries, such as India and the Philippines
$5.48 per person per day — in 32 upper-middle-income countries, such as Brazil and South Africa
$21.70 per person per day — in 29 high-income countries
The international poverty line, currently set at $1.90 a day, is the universal standard for measuring global poverty. This line helps measure the number of people living in extreme poverty and helps compare poverty levels between countries.
As the cost of living increases, poverty lines increase too. Since 1990, the international poverty line rose from $1 a day, to $1.25 a day, and most recently in 2015 to $1.90. This means that $1.90 is necessary to buy what $1 could in 1990.
In the U.S. for a family a four, the poverty line is $25,100 a year. This means that families who earn less than that cannot afford rent, food, or other basic needs. For an individual in the U.S., the poverty line is $12,140 a year, or $33.26 per day. This poverty guideline is calculated based on information from the Census Bureau and is updated by evaluating recent price changes using the Consumer Price Index.
The term “war on poverty” was coined by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In President Johnson’s first State of the Union address, he acknowledged that one-fifth of Americans were living in poverty and called for “a national war on poverty.” With his war on poverty, President Johnson launched Medicare and Medicaid, expanded social security benefits, solidified the food stamps program, and subsidized school districts with a large share of impoverished students.
The root causes of poverty are not only lack of access to basic necessities of life like water, food, shelter, education, or healthcare. Poverty is also caused by inequities including gender or ethnic discrimination, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, and domestic violence. These inequities not only lead a person or a society into poverty but can also restrict access to social services that could help people overcome poverty.
The places most entrenched in poverty are fragile contexts, which can be entire countries or areas of a country. In fragile states areas, children and communities face higher rates of poverty due to political upheaval, past or present conflict, corrupt leaders, and poor infrastructure that limits access to education, clean water, healthcare, and other necessities.
Poverty can be a trap. For someone to get out of poverty, they need opportunities such as an education, clean water, medical facilities nearby, and financial resources. Without these basic elements, poverty becomes a cycle from one generation to the next.
If families are too poor to send their children to school, their children will have a difficult time earning an income when they grow up. If a community lacks clean water, women will spend much of their day fetching water instead of earning an income. If medical facilities are far away, a parent loses income every time they take a sick child to the doctor.
Natural disasters and conflict can add to the cycle of poverty or add people to it . When a natural disaster strikes an impoverished community without functional public institutions, families are more vulnerable and often lack basic resources to recover, thus further entrenching a community in poverty or jeopardizing one that had recently emerged.
We can help end global poverty by identifying what is causing poverty in a particular community and then determining what needs to change. Because poverty looks different in various places and is caused by different factors, the work to eradicate global poverty varies on the context.
World Vision works with a “Theory of Change” for each community. In partnership with the community members, we determine the desired outcomes for that community and identify key steps to reach that outcome. The desired outcomes might be the same for many communities, but the path to get there depends on the context and the resources available.
Perhaps infrastructure needs to be improved with new schools, medical clinics, or access to clean water. Or maybe, people need more economic resources to help boost their income so they can better provide for themselves and their families. Regardless of the solution, in order to ensure poverty doesn’t return, the work must be sustainable. So, the community must be involved in each step.
What progress has been made in reducing global poverty?
Since 1990, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty and child mortality has dropped by more than half. Reducing extreme poverty rates was a central goal in the Millennium Development Goals — eight goals signed by all United Nations member states in 2000 with a goal to achieve them by 2015. Since then, there has been much progress made in reducing global poverty.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a plan of action for countries worldwide to unify in a global partnership for the benefit of people, the planet, and prosperity. By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to end extreme poverty for all people everywhere and at least cut in half the proportion of people living in poverty in all its forms. The United Nations’ member states adopted this goal to end poverty as one of 17 goals in September 2015.
What is World Vision’s response to global poverty?
Since 1950, World Vision has been working to pull up the root causes of poverty’s weeds and plant the seeds of change. We see the multidimensional reality of global poverty, and so our work targets the biggest challenges: hunger and food security, clean water, health, education, economic empowerment, gender equality, disability inclusion, spiritual poverty, disaster relief, and child protection.
With our donors’ support, in a single year we worked to:
As a child-focused organization, World Vision sees children as a community’s most precious resource and central to addressing poverty. Our development approach focuses on children and seeks to empower their families, local communities, and partners to address the underlying causes of poverty, so children and the community can prosper.
Since poverty is different in each context, World Vision works with communities, families, local leaders, and children themselves to identify solutions and transform lives. We are expanding our focus to fragile contexts because, although they are difficult places to work, they are also where the most vulnerable children increasingly live. By 2030, it is estimated that 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor will live in fragile contexts.
As one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world, we have the infrastructure, experience, and relationships needed to bring about lasting change. With more than 65 years of fieldwork, we are making fullness of life possible for children and families.
World Vision has 42,000 staff worldwide who work in nearly 100 countries; 95 percent of our staff work in their home regions. Our long-term presence in communities, the trust we establish, and our integrated community development model enable us to address the many of the root causes of poverty.
Our work includes four main steps:
Listen: We start by following Jesus’ example of coming alongside communities and listening to their unique challenges and needs. We sit down with children, families, churches, and community leaders. Do they need clean water, better schools, a dependable supply of food, basic healthcare, or local jobs? What opportunities do they see?
Develop: Next, we work with the community to develop five-year action plans that address the root causes of their poverty and help bring fullness of life for all.
Act: Then we help them put it into action. We work with their existing leaders and empower new ones, bringing the community together to address the needs they’ve identified. And if the action plan isn’t working as well as it should, we go back and revise it. This helps communities get what they need such as healthcare, education, clean water, nutritious food, and economic opportunity.
Train: We also train them so they know best how to care for and grow these new resources for years to come. When the community has grown healthier, safer, and more self-sustaining, then we transition out and move on to the next community in need. By now, the community is a better place for children to live and grow, they are more equipped to handle emergencies, and they can help their neighbors.
A typical school day looks different in every country. Travel the globe with us in a single school day to see 10 places where World Vision’s education work helps children. Without schooling, children are at greater risk for exploitation, child marriage, and lower income later in life. World Vision works to eliminate barriers to education and partners alongside communities and local governments to improve the quality of education children receive.
An estimated 21 million elementary school-aged children in Asia and the Pacific don’t attend school, according to UNESCO. Sometimes the main roadblock to education in developing countries isn’t a lack of teachers, books, or classrooms — it’s the trek from home to school. Follow these students on their journeys for education.
The Acton Institute is a non-profit educational organization and our mission is to promote a free society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. The Acton Institute organizes seminars aimed at educating religious leaders of all denominations, business executives, entrepreneurs, university professors, and academic researchers in economics principles, and in the connection that can exist between virtue and economic thinking.
Father Heart Home Children’s Center on Rote Island, East Indonesia ministry provides education and discipleship for the youth of Rote Island. Our mission is to prepare the next generation to fear the Lord and have wisdom. To provide facilities where the discipled children can continue their studies. To have faith to have courage to dream for their future life calling even in the face of much resistance. And finally, to work. To provide training and education to awaken their initiative and their passion so in the future they can be independent.
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Dominican Republic teachers have big hearts and a strong desire to teach. But they have very few opportunities to improve their teaching skills. Join us on our mission to provide continuing education to DR teachers & maybe even earn some CE’s yourself. Current and retired teachers welcome!
For Christians: Leading them into the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ Ephesians 4:11-15 and Colossians 1:9-14, 28 & 29 by equipping and enabling them to demonstrate the credibility of Christian faith and character in word and deed.
For Non-Christians: Demonstrating the love of God through various programs of Education, Health, Social Welfare, Rural Development and Poverty-alleviation so that they may taste this love and accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Lord and Savior Ephesians 2:13 & 3:6.
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Church Planting International is a U.S.-based, nonprofit missions organization that works with approximately 40 native missionaries in Mexico, Peru and Uganda, co-laboring in ministries that include church planting, leadership training, missionary sending, compassion and short-term mission teams.
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Children With Disabilities Fund International was established for the purpose of improving the lives of children with intellectual and physical disabilities in developing countries. Through partnership with existing local social services entities, facility administrators and other charitable organizations, CDFI helps to assess and meet the many needs and challenges facing these children. CDFI believes that every child is precious in the eyes of God and deserves the best possible opportunities in life.