Eradicating Poverty, Building Self-Sufficient Communities

Eradicating poverty IMG_1747Take a moment to think about what the word “poverty” means to you. Do you live in poverty? Do you know someone who does? Do you have the desire to help those in poverty? For many Native Americans, the term “poverty” is all too familiar.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2014 poverty rate for chil­dren under the age of 18 was 21 percent. Compare that to the 43 percent of Native American children living in poverty and the difference is staggering. Additionally, 90,000 Native Americans are homeless and 40 percent of Native Americans live in sub-standard, overcrowded housing.

Those who live in poverty understand the complicated web it weaves. For example:

  • Poverty is a principal factor in causing food insecurity, malnutrition, family stress and health issues such as diabetes and obesity.
  • Food insecurity in turn contributes to increased school absenteeism, anxiety and decreased readiness of students to learn.
  • Increased school absenteeism and lower educational attainment leads to lower lifetime earnings and continuation of poverty.

Eradicating poverty IMG_1592Partnership With Native Americans is working every day to help change these realities. PWNA provides aid for 250,000 Native Americans each year, yet believes they have the power within themselves to build resilient communities equipped to face these types of challenges. Even while providing consistent services, PWNA challenges dependency and poverty by involving community members in the delivery of our services, simultaneously enhancing capacity while meeting immediate needs and supporting long-term solutions.

“Other charities come and go, in Indian country,” says Roberta Ecoffey of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “But PWNA is always there for us.”

PWNA has been championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans for 25 years, but there is still work to be done. By supporting long-term solutions like community gardening projects, scholarships and leadership development, PWNA assists reservation communities in becoming self-sufficient and moving further away from the complications of poverty. To learn more about our ongoing efforts, register here.

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