No one chooses to live in poverty, and it goes beyond simply ‘getting a job’. Poverty is often deep-rooted and its cycles are complex.

As far back as the history books go, there has always been a divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. But with all the technological and societal advancements, how are we still facing the same problem all these years later?

Well, when you dig a little deeper, there is more to this life of lack than meets the eye.

The biological effects of poverty

Hunger, dehydration, and lack of access to medical resources increase the likelihood of serious illness. But these symptoms of poverty have effects on the mind, too, as well as hidden genetic effects that go right down to DNA.

Naturally, starvation and homelessness would cause anyone intense stress, but studies in rats have shown that acute maternal stress can be passed down to offspring, while stresses linked to poverty have been shown to reduce the surface area of the brain, increase risk-taking, lead to obesity, and shorten one’s lifespan.

Living with perpetual high levels of stress also causes changes to the way serotonin works. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood regulation, social behaviour, learning and memory, so if it’s not functioning properly we can begin to see why poverty has become the vicious cycle that it is – getting passed down to generation after generation, causing the cycle to continue.

A cure for poverty?

Living in chronic poverty means that there simply isn’t enough money to survive day-to-day, and for many, the inability to earn an income stems from disability.

Many disabilities can be managed with proper care and rehabilitation, but these remain inaccessible for those who cannot afford it – causing even deeper despair to the person affected, as well as the loved ones who are reliant on them.

It is Phila Sonke Wellness Initiative’s mission to make rehabilitation accessible to low-income communities and those living in poverty, and, in doing so, enable their beneficiaries to return to work or entrepreneurial activities that help break the cycle of poverty. You can be a part of the poverty cure. Contact Phila Sonke Wellness Initiative to find out how.

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