Monday, August 13, 2018

Generational Poverty

There is a cycle of poverty known as “Generational Poverty” and it is nearly impossible to correct.  Generational Poverty is when three or four generations of the same family have grown up in poverty.  They have no memory of anyone in the family not living in poverty. They begin to accept that survival is enough and do not make an attempt to get out of poverty.
Many much smarter than me say they begin to accept survival over trying to advance because they lack resources, education and connections. They claim that if they had outside help they could break the cycle of poverty.  Without outside help they are destined to be poor generation after generation.

This is true to a certain extent, but I do not believe it is the only cause of generational poverty.  Generational poverty becomes a mindset and is nearly impossible to break regardless of the outside help they have. I say this because I have tried to help and have first hand experience in the Philippines.  I will explain later. 

I admit poverty can be and generally is the results of low productivity, low salaries, poor governance, ignorance, lack of skills and technology, lack of education, disease, disasters, unemployment, marital status, lack of confidence, victim mentality and mass imprisonment of men.     

A 1960 study said trying to advance the skills of children in poverty has proven difficult and expensive, therefore they suggest supplementing the income of all poor 
families to bring them up to the level of the other students in their schools.  I am sorry this does not make sense to me.  Do they intend for us to supplement the salaries of every generation that follows and there will never be and end to the burden it puts on tax payers and it will never advance an individual who is living in poverty.  There is an old clique give a man a fish and he will eat once, but teach him to fish and he will eat the rest of his life.   

There was a study in France in 2004 that liked the idea that Obama proposed “Income Transfer”, take from the rich and give to the poor.  But, the study did  
 conclude this should only be a quick fix and could not be continued because the real solution is the government must assure a quality education for all. This plan was 
different than the GREAT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S for his plan would have 
continued for ever because it was to be part of the I.R.S.  

Do you remember the other great plan of the Democrats in the 1960's favor minorities in job and entrance to college. They did not apply for jobs and they did not go to college.  When it came time to stop the plan they revolted.  The ones that benefit from the Civil Rights Plan would have probably succeeded without it for they were already achievers.  Contrary to what we are told I believe most rich people do not inherit their wealth they obtain their wealth by working hard.  Most of the rich did not attend private schools they attended public schools.  I think it has more to do 
with  the motivation of the individual to want to do better than handouts.

After my Father died, when I was in my early teens, we became poor very fast.  I was 
determined I did not want to be poor all my life and I worked my way through 
college and graduate school and manage to obtain a lifestyle where I never experienced poverty again.

Since living in the Philippines I have paid all expenses for five students to go to college  and given them a weekly stipends.  One graduated from College.  The others did not have enough desire to advance in life.  One young lady was an honor student, but her parents thought it best she drop out and go to work so she could help support 
the family. She believed she should follow Philippine tradition.  One family was afraid the child would have more of an attachment for me than them and would not 
help them when he finished college. I now pay a family to send their daughter to school who is in the seventh grade and an honor student and pray she continues.  Her 
family seems to understand the importance of an education.

My point is these five students had outside help and only one took advantage of it.  Now I will give you more examples. They concern helping families start a business. 
A young couple in their late twenties, a nice couple, was living in poverty and I was 
the Godfather to their child.  They went back to the city where they came from and I financed a small café for them.  I personally went and purchased all the equipment, had the space remodeled and paid one year utilities and rent in advance.  They opened and did better than I had ever anticipated.  The first warning to me was when the wife said we are the owners and I should not be waiting tables I should be the cashier.  She had her Father build her a nice little cashier booth where she sat on her 
butt all day.  They had to replace her with a paid employee.  The third month they had made enough money to take a vacation in Cebu to show off their new found wealth to his family.  They closed for three weeks.  When they returned they found that the customers they had daily had gone elsewhere and they  could not 
understand why.  To make a long story short they pawned all the equipment, left the 
building empty with about ten months rent and utilities paid.  To top it all they did not even feel and obligation to tell the customer on a sign that they were closed for three weeks and would reopen. They had outside help, but could not or would handle the responsibility.

I help a mother and son open a grocery store.  The mother was disabled and the son was about 23 and a prostitute making money at the mall off of foreign men.  I visited the mother and knew the circumstances and decided to help.  She did have a home on a busy street and a front yard big enough for a small store.  I had it build, equipped and stocked.  Another success story for about six months.  I visited the mother to find 
the store closed and found the boy like being a prostitute better than having to stay in the store more free time he said prostituing  Today he has A.I.D.S. and the mother is deceased.  It was not the lack of outside help it was the lack of desire and being responsible.

I helped a brother and sister open another café and I will not go into to that. I had owned a restaurant in Houston, Texas and try to advise them, but no they would not listen. They preferred to blame lack of business on the lack of traffic and the people in cars drove by to fast and everything else they could imagine.  I told them they should try a buffet style restaurant before they closed – no interest.  I told them they should have a limited menu and an offer a different meal everyday and then simply repeat it for the next week for the workers near by – no interest.  Restaurant closed!

Still being the fool I am I helped a woman open a vendors stall at the Davao Street Market.  She is doing well, but could do much better.  The problem is she does not like change.  Whatever you suggest you can see it in her face she is not listening and is not going to try it. She was told if she would arrange the used clothing in colors and sizes and put them on the rack neatly more people would come into her stall.  I was told Filipino’s do not like that they like digging through stuff piled on a table and finding what they want.  So in other words ALL Filipino people have no desire to 
shop in ease and in a well organized place they are too low class for that.  That what I hear her saying.  There is a saying in retail that women do not like to “Butt Swipe” when shopping which means they like enough space so other are not brushing up against them.  I was told Filipino’s do not care anything about that they live five and six in one room they are use to being crowed.  Last night I advised them no more help and no more money.  I think they will make enough to have a dried fish and rice everyday for breakfast.  Outside help may have failed again.

I was helping an orphanage in a nearby town.  One day I happen upon one of the directors Facebook Page.  All of these pictures of people that were supposedly 
volunteering at the Home were going on all day sightseeing trips on boats, staying the weekend at resorts on Samal Island. But, I was told weekly, “Father, if we do not get money in we will have to close in two weeks.”  Most of the volunteers were friends 
and family. Naturally they get nothing from me any longer.  They got outside help, but did not change anything.  These people were college graduates who  when looking at their material possessions it looks like they have nothing, house not decent, no car, cheap furniture, etc.

Then my Filipino friend told me, “Father, those people are not going to change no matter what you give them.  You give it and they spend it on a party.  They are happy the way they are and do not want more out of life.  You want to give them a chance to live a better life, because you feel sorry for them, but what you do not understand is 
they really do not care about having a better life because that would mean more work, less play and more responsibility.” This friend is the only one I helped that finished College and got a degree in Accounting.

This week I happened upon a You Tube site where a young Filipino man was talking about poverty in the Philippines.  This young man has made it big in the entertainment business in the States.  He said that all his family expect him to support them while they lay around the house in the Philippines.  He claims he did that for several years.  He then realized he was not helping them get out of poverty and now he gives them nothing.  He said of course they think he is terrible and has no heart and tell him that was not the way he was raised.  His reply is it is not the way I was raised and if I followed the culture and traditions of the way I was raised I would be 
poor to. His niece is at the moment hates  him for not sending her to college. He told her no one sent me I worked at a Call Center at night and went to college in the day you can do the same.  What he said may seem cold, but he is right.  He is only contributing to Generational Poverty as long as he keeps supporting them all.  One has to desire to get out of poverty in order to get out of poverty.

I gave the lady in the Davao Street Market 144 Tee Shirts, name brand, overruns.  She immediately replied I cannot sell those things.  They are too expensive and no one would pay what they are worth.  They are too thin, Filipinos like thick cotton shirts.  They are all tagged with prices from stores.  The price on the tags and what I ask her to try and sell them for is ¼.  The largest Department Store in the Philippines sells the same brands and same shirts. She honestly believes Filipinos prefer used clothes because that is what they are used to. Not open to trying and certainly not open to change.  It is festival week in Davao alot of people from out of town.  If they had money to fly here for the festival they may have money to pay a little more for new clothes. 

So I do not buy the idea that all people living in poverty need is OUTSIDE help!  They also need the desire to get out of poverty.


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