Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter. However, poverty is more, much more than just not having enough money.
The World Bank Organization describes poverty in this way: “Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action -- for the poor and the wealthy alike -- a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities.” Money isn't everything. The greatest form of wealth is human connection and human interaction. It's one of the most influential currencies in the world. In our Fighting with the Poor Program, we go shoulder to shoulder, hand on hand with the Poor, to tackle the possible limitations they have to overcome this unfair situation where they are.
It a 6 month period in the academy. During this time, you will live in the academy sharing with the community of St. Vincent and learning topics like: the world, causes of poverty, global warming and climate change, and anything that will help you to do your service period. Like no other school, at RVA, you will live a collective life in an international environment, with teachers and participants from many different countries and with a multitude of different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, skills, languages and education. The program is demanding and challenging. You will discover the great pleasure and sense of comradeship when you achieve a common goal together with your team, and you will realize again and again how much more you can achieve when you put your forces together. Also, the life at RVA is in many ways simple. We live at the end of the road in the second poorest nation in the Caribbean, very far from the consumer society of shopping, restaurants and bars, but the view is spectacular! (we have the beach at just 10 minutes from the school and our backyard is La Soufriere Volcano!) So, we produce our own culture and entertainment, and also grow a big part of our own food and you will learn to do it too! It is an indescribable experience to see how you can plant and harvest your own food.
Second Phase: Service Period
The next 6 months of the program, are for the service period. The service period is focused on developing poor communities in terms of vegetable production and nutrition, healthy living, education and income generating projects. During this time, you will get hands on the experience. You will live with the communities, but not in separate ways, you will live the way they live. This way you can really see what their needs are and what you can do to help them. The Fighting Poverty Team, performs social work and run community programs in the poorest areas of Ecuador or Belize. During this period the participants serve in community development projects with the NGO Humana People to People. You can help in many ways. For example, you can teach in the communities how to grow their own food, how to eat healthy, how to make fertilizer, family planning, etc.
Third Phase: The Journal Period
The last 6 months, are about returning to RVA and share your experience with all the students and teachers. This last phase is call the journal phase, because in here you have to give your final product. This product is what you learned or how the experience changed you. But don't worry, it's not very complicated. In fact, your final product could be: a song, a book, an article to the RVA blog, or whatever relates your experience for the past year or the 18 months that you were in the program.
Is really a life-changing program?
Well, we could easily say that: yes, it's a unique experience! But, we think that is better if you hear it from our students. So, in the following video you will meet some of our students of the Fighting with The Poor Program and the will tell you how the experience is of working with the poor.
You can get your own conclusions, but we guarantee to you that is really a life changing experience, not only for you, but also for the communities that you worked with.