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Inter-generational transmission of poverty

By Tendai Nyangari
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Inter-generational transmission of poverty is a state of generations of families being impoverished. This means that poverty is transmitted from one generation to another, with poor parents having poor children, who are more likely to become poor adults. Poverty being the state of not being able to afford basic necessities. Falling into poverty, escaping poverty and getting stuck in poverty are each based on a combination of structural and idiosyncratic factors from the individual to household to global. When all things are equal education is the best escape route from the life of poverty.

Chronic poverty stems from education and economics. In terms of education, being well educated lowers the chances of poverty. As education is a major determinant of potential earnings. In most scenarios if parents' are not educated, children are less likely to obtain education and otherwise if the majority of other individuals of the same generation within the family do not receive education, one might correctly expect the return from schooling to be low, which lessens the incentive to receive an education.Children's educational level depends more on family characteristics (parents education level & social class) than on parents current income.

Communication about education in poverty homes is limited. Daily problems become the focus, due to the fact of high stress levels no one asks the children how school was, and kids conclude that the lack of concern sends the message that education is not important and no one cares. Poverty exits depend on numerous factors such as availability of role models and child to parent aspirations. In rural areas most school aged children never have an  opportunity to attend school. The situation is worse if you are a young girl and able to help out with daily routines of fetching water and scavenging for food. Ultimately surviving takes precedence over education.

Children growing up in low income families face many challenges that children from more advantaged families do not. These children are more likely to experience multiple family transitions, move frequently and change schools. The schools they attend have little or no resources. The parents of these children have fewer resources to invest in them and as a consequence, their homes have fewer cognitively stimulating materials and their parents invest less in the education. The stress of living in poverty and struggling to meet daily needs can also impair parenting.

My inspiration to write this article was derived from a conversation I had with a 14 year old girl called Sally.

On a very good morning I was chatting with a neighbor called Mary, who is a widow and works as a part time domestic worker. Mary usually goes to work with her daughter Sally so as to get dual income to make ends meet. They also survive on handouts like clothes, food and rental fees as they cannot meet all of their basic needs. So on that specific day I was chatting with Mary, I inquired how her daughter was doing at school, immediately the 14 year old daughter took the phone and sends a message which read;

"Hi sister bring some of the clothes you no longer fit, when are you coming home." My good morning suddenly transformed to a bad morning, not that she asked for clothes or not that she acted like I was obliged to do that. Not even that she seemed to care more about getting clothes rather than have the courtesy to ask how the owner of the clothes was doing. What dampened my mood was more of a young girl's life focus, poverty mindset and dependency syndrome being passed on like peanuts. I got a rude awakening of how difficult it is to break the cycle of poverty, how it's just passed from one generation to the other, how children are never taught about the importance of education, how economically it is a fact that children who are born poor are likely to remain poor in their adult years.

The above scenario is the exact way the cycle of poverty goes on. A poor family struggling to survive with several children. Children are forced to work. The children are working instead of attending school. The children grow up without receiving education. As adults they cannot get good paying jobs then the cycle starts back again. The importance of ending inter-generational poverty cannot be overemphasised; it's a serious matter for every family, city and nation.If we want poverty to end , we need to uplift women!!!!!!!!

Solutions BBB offers free entrepreneurship training for women, under our Phenomenal Women Academy Division.

" If you educate a man,you educate an individual, if you educate a woman you  educate a nation" African Proverb


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