Economic need creates serious social challenges that rob families of opportunity and keep them locked into poverty.
In Kenya, secondary and university education require an investment exceeding $800 per child per year. This sum is out of reach for the extreme poor, who earn less than $1.25 a day. Without an education, our farmers’ children will never access jobs that break the cycle of poverty.
Low income precludes rural families from visiting the doctor when someone is sick. They cannot afford costs of treatment, medication or even transportation to the hospital. Without healthcare, people cannot enjoy long and healthy lives and cannot realize their full potential in the working world.
Economic need dictates a nutrient-poor diet and, often, hunger. In rural Kenya, nearly 40% of people are malnourished. Without income to afford healthy meals, children suffer permanent physical, cognitive and immunological stunting, prohibiting their future capacity to live prosperous lives.
Because of poverty, most of Kenya’s rural areas lack basic infrastructure. Families have no running water or electricity in their homes; neglected dirt roads limit access to hospitals and market centers; a lack of sanitation breeds disease. Without infrastructure, productivity declines and poverty deepens.
Among Africa’s poor, women and children are the most disadvantaged. Without the ability to earn significant income, women must depend on the patriarch. This restricts a family’s earning power and limits a mother’s power to build a hopeful future for her children.
Only an alternative source of income – like microforestry – can help families break the cycle of poverty and social deprivation.