Many at times, efforts towards ending poverty has focused on the conventional economic and social approaches, but this is changing. At Arigatou International – End Child Poverty, we seek to not only end material poverty but also poverty of the heart and mind.
Our partner, Stepping Up Global, in Kenya has been one such champion of eradicating poverty of the heart and mind. In commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, (IDEP), 2019, Stepping Up Global had a session with some 54 participants; children, parents and teachers on character development with a close focus on ending poverty of the heart and mind for children. The session took place on 18th October 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The session shed light on the need to not only focus on providing children with material needs but also provision of wellness and wealth in their hearts and mind. “To eradicate poverty of the heart and mind for children, we should give them a; moral start, safe start, health start and a faith start to life,” opined one of the parents. Even more encouraging were the children’s voices on ending poverty of the heart and mind. Many them, saying that to end such poverty among themselves requires them to be friendly to each other and shun being judgmental against one another
“Eradicating poverty of the heart and mind for me is being courageous, not underestimating myself and helping others to overcome poverty affecting them,” said one of the children. Another one added that he has over time learnt to be friendly and never judging others.
IDEP, 2019 was not the only time the children were being exposed to character development sessions. Over two hundred boys and girls have been beneficiaries of these sessions and exposure trips as organized by Stepping Up Global. These sessions have had a positive impact on the character of these boys and girls, character that has propelled them to perform better in their academic studies. Additionally, they have become champions in encouraging fellow children to let go poverty in their hearts and minds by having a positive attitude towards life as well as loving each other.
In as much as material poverty hurts children and deprives them of their future, poverty of the heart and mind too can be devastating to children and hinder achievement of their life goals. Such initiatives by Arigatou International – End Child Poverty, exemplified by Stepping Up Global go a long way in providing a holistic approach towards eradication of child poverty by filling gaps left by the conventional economic approaches to alleviation of child poverty.
“I feel like an eagle destined to fly high, but not alone, with fellow children who are mentored purposely to eradicate poverty in their hearts and minds” said 14-year-old Susan Wangare, who has been one of the beneficiaries of the character development program.