Why I Care about Ending Poverty
In my final years of High-school education, I was privileged enough to accompany my family on a holiday to Bali. Although I only vaguely noticed it whilst there, poverty was definitely around every corner.
A couple of years after the trip, some amazing young Australian's opened my eyes to what was happening across the globe. A side to life I knew existed, but no-where near to the extent that I had ever imagined. I was able to reflect on my experiences in Bali, re-living the experiences but in almost different shoes.
I recall a certain part of the trip quite well. Each day, shortly after breakfast, I would go for a walk along a path-way which followed the beach. Along the path-way were a number of road-side stalls, selling everything from knock-off sunglasses to the tastiest of local treats.
However, there was always one part of the morning stroll that was, somewhat, unpleasant. There was an almost-vacant section of land along the path with nothing but a rather large pile of garbage. Situated just off the path, but on this particular block of land, was a lady whose age was very difficult to guess. She would sit, in the same spot in the dirt each day without fail, a worn-out hand-woven bag in front of her with hand-crafted bracelets of all sorts of arrangements. For the first few days, I ignored her entirely. Intentionally avoiding eye-contact, hoping that she wouldn't look at me. As the days passed, I seemed to open up a little, and would walk past and give out a lovely smile, to which she would do the same back. It was clear by the lack of teeth and how malnourished she was that her only income was produced by sitting in that spot, selling her bracelets.
So on my final day in the country, I went for one last walk. Upon returning, I approached the woman. Without any action other than simply browsing the bracelets she had made, her expression had already showed how happy she was. I purchased three bracelets, and gave her all of my remaining Indonesian currency, which if I recall correctly should have covered the costs for a hundred or-so bracelets. She was more than thankful, and kept trying to give me the remaining couple of handfuls of bracelets she had. I don’t know if she understood me, but when I stood up, and wished her a good day she just stared, with the most thankful smile I’ve ever witnessed.
To this day, I wear one of the bracelets around my ankle, to remind me of how life is for far too many people in the world.
Although my brush-up with poverty might seem miniscule compared to the more extreme situations that exist, it has changed the way I look at things and has built the foundations for a strong calling as to why I am passionate about ending poverty.