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Felix: RVA is an amazing place

felix Felix worked in Ecuador
My name is Ammon Felix and I am from the Richland, WA, U.S.A. I was part of the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor Program at Richmond Vale Academy from April 2016 - November 2017. During this Time I spent 6 months studying the massive forces in the world that keep many people in poverty. I spent 6 months learning the practicalities of wor...
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Fight Shoulder to Shoulder with The Poor in Belize

In Belize, one third of the population (126.000 people) lives below the poverty line. Since 2012, Richmond Vale Academy has co-operated with Humana People to People in Belize and several Development Instructors trained and supported the projects there.  The Humana People to People  projects in Belize aim to: - Mobilize children, youth and adults to be active in the economic, social and environmental spheres of their communities. - Improve family health, education and economy. - Reduce the vulnerability of small farmers and communities to adverse impacts of climate change. To date, HPP Belize has worked directly with 5,500 families – approximately 25,000 people. Enjoy a new video from Belize!
We still have a few spots left in the upcoming Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with The Poor starting in October, you can help by sharing this blog with your friends and on your social media pages! Thanks!  
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Shoulder to Shoulder

Development Instructors in The Fighting with The Poor Program at Richmond Vale Academy have the opportunity to work in the the HPP Child Aid Project in Belize.  The idea with the Child Aid project is to fight poverty hand in hand with the people of Toledo District and secure that every child can grow up to his or her fullest potential. The project will build capacity in the people in the project. The families will work with activities within 10 lines. 1,000 families will be reached directly through their enrollment in the project and many more will be reached through common activities via the schools, open days and activities in the communities. Child Aid Toledo was launched in December 2007. Together with a dedicated staff and local and international volunteers many activities have taken place since then. The main activities have been establishment of youth clubs, construction of latrines, implementation of income generating activities, planting Moringa trees, raising chickens, organic vegetable gardens, implementation of cacao and coffee organic farming, women groups with activities to produce pineapple jam, rugs and craft, HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, construction of firewood saving stoves, Global warning courses and much more. The Project’s situation Belize’s population is estimated as being approximately 324,000. Belize’s small private enterprise economy is highly dependent on commodity exports, tourism, and increasingly on petroleum since an oilfield discovery in...
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Heather: What does it mean to be 'Poor'?

Heather: What does it mean to be 'Poor'?
I have been lucky enough in my life to have travelled and lived in many different countries and worked with many different organisations. I have seen poverty in every place that I have been, whether it was in my own country, Scotland or where I am living now in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. When I look at it, being poor has a different meaning dependent on where you are, but the feeling is the same no matter where you go. According to the United Nations, poverty is fundamentally 'a violation of human dignity'. It is, I feel the best way of explaining both how and why people are poor and how our perceptions of people can create poverty. [caption id="attachment_12129" align="alignleft" width="300"] Heather: Let's share all we have! When I was young, before my concept of rich and poor was formed, I went to school in an area that was considered to be 'poor' by Scottish standards. I saw children at school that had clothes with holes in them and who came to school in non-matching shoes. I didn't know what this meant until I was a lot older because as a child you don't appreciate the difference between you and your peers. When we create the difference, the us and them, that is when we take away a level of dignity. In Edinburgh, I...
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Magdy from Mexico: Do what you can

Magdy from Mexico: Do what you can
In this past year I have been studying and learning about the causes of poverty and what can I do to make this world a better place. I think is possible to change the world, we can change our world! There are many places, people we all can help in our own countries; there many organizations that are trying to make a difference but they need people who want to work and see a change like "If you want something well done you have to do it your self". There are many ways and ideas of how you can help but everything comes down to do what is NEEDED. You can start little with your neighborhood your city or you can go and travel and participate with different organization. I have been a volunteer almost all my life, my parents were missionaries and since I was a child I was there to help my brother or sister when needed. I remember thinking as a child and wondering why more people don’t participate in helping. Why? We all want a better world for us and our children so why don't more people participate in changing the world to the one we want! You only need to take the decision that you want to help, it can be big or can be small it doesn’t matter. Just be...
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4 Terrible Effects of Poverty on the Brain That You Should Know About It!

4 Terrible Effects of Poverty on the Brain That You Should Know About It!
Issues like hunger, illness, and thirst are all causes and effects of poverty . That is to say, that not having food means being poor, but being poor also means being unable to afford food or   clean water . The effects of poverty are often interrelated so that one problem rarely occurs alone. Bad sanitation makes one susceptible to diseases; and hunger and lack of clean water makes one even more vulnerable to diseases. Impoverished countries and communities often suffer from discrimination and end up caught in a cycle of poverty. However, poverty also affects the brain and the body of those who experience. In fact, poverty on the brain can extend well beyond the years of financial struggle; even helping to perpetuate this situation. What are the Effects of Poverty on The Brain? Imagine having to stress every penny and count every calorie to make sure you are getting enough into your system. Imagine being scared of getting sick because you don’t have medical insurance, or access to any health care service. Now, imagine you have children and you have to provide for them while not being able to financially support yourself. That is what goes through the mind of an adult person living in poverty  24/7; 365 days a year. There are several effects of poverty on the brain, like:  #1- Poverty on...
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A life-changing experience with the Fighting with The Poor Program!

A life-changing experience with the Fighting with The Poor Program!
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. What is The...
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Planet of Slums

Planet of Slums
During the 18 months Fighting with The Poor Program , participants both study and take action to fight global warming and global poverty in St. Vincent, Belize and Ecuador. Part of this program is to also to plant trees, organize clean up actions, teach in schools and start vegetable gardens along with a number of theoretical studies to understand the causes of poverty. One of the study tasks focuses on the book "Planet of Slums" by Mike Davis , and here is from the introduction to the study task.   In 2008 the number of people living in cities for the first time surpassed the global rural population. The individual who tipped the scale might be a baby born to a city dweller or an adult migrating from the countryside, but in either case, it's likely that the newcomer will have arrived in a Third World slum. By 2030, an estimated 5 billion of the world's 8.1 billion people will live in cities. About 2 billion of them will live in slums, primarily in Africa and Asia, lacking access to clean drinking water and working toilets, surrounded by desperation, poverty and crime. Already these slums are huge. According to Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums, nearly 80% of Nigeria's urban population, or some 41.6 million people, live in slums. The comparable numbers in India are...
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6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World

6 Main Causes of Poverty in the World
Poverty is a social condition that is characterized by the lack of resources necessary for basic survival or necessary to meet a certain minimum level of living standards expected for the place where one lives. The income level that determines poverty is different from place to place, so social scientists believe that it is best defined by conditions of existence, like lack of access to food, clothing, and shelter. People in poverty typically experience persistent hunger or starvation, inadequate or absent education and health care, and are usually alienated from mainstream society. Poverty is a consequence of the uneven distribution of material resources and wealth on a global scale and within nations. Sociologists see it as a social condition of societies with unequal and inequitable distribution of income and wealth, and the exploitative effects of global capitalism. Causes of Poverty In the war against poverty it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of it; for only tackling the roots of the problem one can provide a final solution to it. This is especially useful to remember when considering that although poverty is a global issue, there is no blanket cause for it. Therefore, there is no common solution. The causes of poverty vary from one country to the other and are ascribed to their history, governance and the dynamics of society within it. However; when...
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11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic

11 Reasons to become an activist Infographic
A beautiful aspect of being human is that we have the power to change things that we don’t agree with — whether it is what’s in our food, how animals are treated in captivity, or inequality between genders or races. When you begin to take action to bring awareness to the causes you care about, you become an activist in the process. So, while the seemingly extreme actions mentioned above will definitely get you noticed, they are, by no means, essential for becoming an activist. All it takes to become an activist are passion, knowledge and the a desire to make a change. There are so many ways in which you can be activist for a better world; options are wide and open, everywhere in the world organizations -like Richmond Vale Academy - are looking for volunteers, people that are in need of help and there are causes in abundance to fight for. Reasons to Become an Activist  Becoming an activist for a better world is something that everyone have to do at least for a period in its  life. To step out of your regular and standardized life is not only of great social benefit, but offers so many benefits for your life. Here are 11 reasons why you should become an activist and help in big!! (Click infographic to enlarge .) Share this Image...
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The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Andrea

The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Andrea
By Andrea During the 18 months Fighting with The Poor Programs , students have the opportunity to learn about world history, the world of  today and also looking into future tendencies. One of the books recommended to read is Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" Shock is a word of French origin that means a collision. It refers to aviolent event that shakes up a person. In psychiatry, a shock is mental reaction to a traumatic event such as an accident, a very frightening or tragic situation. Such event may cause an acute stress reaction whereby a great amount of stress hormones are released by the action of the brain. These will prepare the person to flee or fight and can be useful if you suddenly meet a lion in the bush – but if a shock is very severe it may paralyze you so you become disoriented and even unable to remember what is happening because the brain goes into an emergency mode and do not function in a rational way. A severe mental shock may be deadly for people with heart problems who may suffer acute heart attack but even an otherwise healthy person may not survive a very severe shock. After World War I , where soldiers endured horrible battles in thetrenches of Europe it was observed that a great many soldiers suffered mental...
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Fourth Industrial Revolution: What comes next?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution —most commonly known as Industrie 4.0—; is "the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies" ( Wikipedia ). Its main characteristic is the introduction of smart factories; or machines with embedded web connectivity that are part of a larger system that visualizes the entire production chain and makes decisions on its own. While a neat transition from the Third Industrial Revolution might lead people to consider Industry 4.0 as an extension of it; the Fourth Industrial Revolution is no such thing. The fast-as-lighting pace of innovation heralds the transformation of entire systems of production, management and governance. [caption id="attachment_5931" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Comparative chart of the main characteristics of each Industrial Revolution - Photo Credit: Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES THE INTERNET OF THINGS [caption id="attachment_5934" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Pixabay It is a network of physical devices, means of transport, infrastructure, among other things; which use embedded technology to share information with each other or the internet. According to Jim Chase , of Texas Instruments: "The Internet of things creates an intelligent, invisible network fabric" which we can control, sense and program. Chase also stresses that the true promise of this network is "when invisible technology operates behind the scenes dynamically responding to how we want 'things' to act". CLOUD COMPUTING [caption id="attachment_5935" align="aligncenter"...
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Third Industrial Revolution: The Digital Revolution

[caption id="attachment_5786" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia The third Industrial Revolution —or Digital Revolution— refers to the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to the digital electronics we use today. In the last four decades, the use of digital computers has become commonplace and the appearance of the Internet connected the world. If anything, the third Industrial Revolution is as extraordinary as it is normal . Firstly, it is part of the incessable modernization and reinvention process that defines the human race. Secondly, in the last two decades, information and communication technologies have taken tremendous steps forward. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to imagine not having access to an infinite information database, or a quick video call with a dear friend. We have smartphones, houses and cars. The third Industrial Revolution has essentially changed how we behave, think, communicate, work and earn our livelihoods. Let's see how this wave of technological innovation has shaped the world as we live it today. SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: PRESENT AND FUTURE Great Recession [caption id="attachment_5779" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Britannica It started with the crash in US housing prices. This event nearly led to the collapse of the global economy and generated major social displacement throughout world societies. Some of its effects still persist: High unemployment rates in US and Europe. Record youth unemployment across...
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Effects of Poverty on Behavior and Academic Performance

[caption id="attachment_5760" align="alignleft" width="300"] The effects of poverty on behavior and academic performance can be insidious and devastating. - Photo Credit: Wikipedia People have long argued that the way out of poverty is to provide the poor with the economic means to overcome their situation. However, this solution is rooted on a very simplistic view of a problem with multiple complex causes. Poverty places people at a disadvantage that is not only environmental, but also physical and psychological. It affects people's health, how they interact with each other and how they react to external stimuli. It even affects how and why they prioritize certain things, and their academic performance. These factors contribute to the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty in individuals, families, communities and countries. Hence why, money can only have long-term effects in poverty alleviation if policymakers tackle the socioeconomic, physical and psychological components of this issue in tandem. In recent decades, wealth and income inequality between the rich and poor has exacerbated. Among other things, this viciously limits the opportunities available to certain sectors of the population; thus increasing social disparities and tension between groups. As Sawhill (2003) points out, "not only does behavior matter, it matters more than it used to" . However, what this author fails to point out is that behavior is not entirely a result of an individual's own...
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The Dummies' Guide to Industrial Revolution

We live in the era of change. Every year, we discover and invent new, marvelous things in every possible field. We have developed new fabrics, new agriculture techniques, means of travel, medical procedures and so on and so forth. It seems like we can improve everything, and if not, we create something anew! What a brilliant time to be alive. But it wasn't always like this. In fact, how we live now is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. Let's see how. [caption id="attachment_5558" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: KidsKonnect LIFE IN THE PRE-INDUSTRIAL ERA Source: Pre-industrial Society Throughout pre-industrial history, people did everything by hand. They helped themselves by using some basic mechanisms and tools, but the bulk of their effort relied on their shoulders. This remained unchanged for centuries. In fact, the lives of English peasants in 1750 was hardly different from the lives of their ancestors! Rural families mixed work with social life, as they lived in small plots of land. They grew crops for home consumption and tended to farm animals with the same purpose. Before the Industrial Revolution, commoners led an agrarian lifestyle. They thought God made humans sick to purify their souls. Pre-industrial folks had no healthcare, no education and no hygiene. They were also dying. A lot. [caption id="attachment_5556" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty, war, plague and poor hygiene...
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List of Developing Countries in 2016

Developing countries is an umbrella term —with no universal definition— for low and middle-income countries with lower industrialization and human development rates than other —developed— countries. [caption id="attachment_5495" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The term developing countries is problematic because it disregards the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Due to widespread acceptace of the term, especially by official statistics, this article lists low-income and lower-middle income economies (World Bank) as developing countries - Photo Credit: Flickr DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: DEFINITION AND PROBLEMATIC NATURE Developing countries are typically defined through their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year. A definition by the World Bank (2013) lists them as countries with a GNI of $11,905 or less. However, the use of this term is highly problematic and is being challenged today. In fact, some organizations — the World Bank included — have discarded it from their data vocabulary. The main reason is that using this term and parameter to group countries together ignores the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Further motives include the implication of inferiority of “developing countries” in comparison to “developed ones” and the use of a Western definition for development some countries do not identify with.  Moreover, the term “developing countries” suggests mobility, which is not an accurate depiction of some economies, namely those of the African countries devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. [caption id="attachment_5496" align="aligncenter"...
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Effects of Urbanization On Poverty

[caption id="attachment_5475" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Among the effects of urbanization on poverty is the birth of slums, product of weak management policies, insufficient and unaffordable housing - Photo Credit: Wikipedia According to the United Nations, over half of the population of developing countries will live in cities by 2020. This is perceived by many as a huge step forward, for developing countries and humanity in general. But is it? With urbanization slowly but steadily winning over rural settlements, theories about possible economic development have surfaced. In the backdrop, urban slums like those seen in El Cairo, Caracas, México City and Mumbai cloud the promising landscape. As seen above, the possible effects of urbanization on poverty pose two strikingly different outcomes. With the United Nations and the global community vowing to halve the amount of people living in poverty by 2030 , there is an inevitable question to ask: Is urbanization the key to poverty alleviation or does it merely displace rural poverty for one of its own ? WHAT IS URBANIZATION?   As defined by the Joint Urban Studies Center (2006), “in terms of a geographical place, urbanization means increased spatial scale and/or density of settlement and/or business and other activities in the area during a specific period of time”. Urbanization can occur because of natural population growth or due to migration of the population, namely from...
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Wealth and Income Inequality: This Will Make You Question Everything

At one point or another, we all have wondered why some people have more money than they could ever spend, while others do not have enough to secure even the most frugal of meals. Why some countries are lit with fireworks that their citizens look at from gravity-defying skyscrapers while others are crippled with ongoing epidemics. Why, if in theory we all have access to the same opportunities, there is such disparity among and within countries? What is being done to remedy it? The issue of wealth and income inequality is perhaps one of the most heavy-hitting ones in current society, and it is also among the most obvious. [caption id="attachment_5393" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: YouTube As the developed world lines up for the purchase of the new smartphone, somewhere in a developing country a woman is burning firewood to light up her home, which lacks electricity. From access to basic services to opportunities for life improvement, justice and possession of power, in the world, historically, wealth and income have been decisive factors on whether a person will be able to fulfill their potential or not. It is imperative, then, to understand the workings of wealth and income inequality in order to close the widening gap between the earnings and net worth of the top 1% and the rest of the world, disregarding ethnic background, sex,...
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Poverty Facts: Insight On Mankind's Biggest Issue

[caption id="attachment_5255" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Check the article below for a compilation of poverty facts in fields such as education, health, economics and the environment - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty is a complex, multidimensional issue that goes beyond the lack of income that characterizes it . It affects how, what and when people eat, how they manage their health, the basic resources they have access to, the people they associate with and how they interact with them, and even their way of thinking . Moreover, prolonged, severe poverty can be a crippling problem for families for generations on end and it can be very difficult to escape. But however disastrous poverty can be for millions and millions of people worldwide, their better-off peers still feel very detached from it. It is often as if instances where people live on less than a dollar a day and children starve to death only happen in a galaxy far, far away and not in the same country, or region, or continent. If you identify with the type of person described above, this post is for you. Below you will find poverty facts, which will hopefully be useful in providing you with insight on poverty, its causes , complexity  and why it is so important to eliminate it. POVERTY FACTS: CHILDREN [caption id="attachment_4458" align="aligncenter" width="460"] Poverty facts: In 2013, 51 million...
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Common Malnutrition Diseases

Malnutrition —along with its causes , signs , symptoms and effects—  has been broadly discussed in previous articles. It cannot be stressed enough that this issue is very much alive today, in both the developing and developed world. The rise of the diet culture , which has seen incredibly restrictive and harmful diets being merchandised as something good, has played with the self-esteem —and the health— of millions. Moreover, the prevalence and affordability of fast food over its healthy counterparts in food deserts has condemned a wide range of people —namely the urban poor— to trading proper nutrition for cheap, available foods. On the other end of the spectrum, obesity is considered an epidemic in the US and other developed countries, while in the developing world people live day-to-day not knowing if they are going to eat or not. This plethora of situations, not to mention illnesses and other causes of malnutrition, leads to different kinds of nutritional deficiencies, which manifest in several forms. At its most severe, malnutrition can lead to illness, which is what this post focus on. Keep reading for common malnutrition diseases, meaning those that are caused by malnutrition. COMMON MALNUTRITION DISEASES: SCURVY [caption id="attachment_5154" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Scurvy is making a comeback, after being considered an illness of the past - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Although not entirely common and largely considered an...
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