What Is Poverty

What is Poverty

What is Poverty ?

What is Poverty – How is it Defined ?
Poverty has existed throughout human history and understanding the multi-dimensional nature is significant since it determines strategies and approaches towards poverty alleviation.


Poverty can be defined as :-

  1. Lack of Basic Needs
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Health/Medical Care
  • Education
  • Basic Sanitation
  1. Absence of Social, Political and Economic opportunities

Depending upon social circumstances and the availability of financial resources other needs – fuel, electricity, transportation, marriage allowance, repayment of debts, etc – may also be included. This fulfillment of needs should be provided to all citizens irrespective of colour, creed, race, gender or age.

Poverty leads to a vicious circle of low productivity, low income/capital/savings, which in turn leads to lower productivity and poverty again.

The objective of the shariah is to promote the welfare of the people, which lies in safe guarding their faith, life, intellect, prosperity and wealth.

Maslahah (benefit), is the property or power of a good/service that affects the basic elements and objectives of the life of human beings in this world, with the five fundamentals of existence in this world being described as :

  • Life
  • Property (Wealth)
  • Faith
  • Reason
  • Posterity

All goods or services that have the power to promote these five elements are said to have maslahah for human beings, and are therefore needs.

There is a three level band concept to synthesize definitions of poverty, they are :-

  • Minimum Sustenance
  • Minimum Adequacy
  • Minimum Comfort

Distributive justice is one of the most important components of the Islamic vision of a just socio-economic order.

To know what helps to reduce poverty, what works and what does not, what changes over time, poverty has to be defined, measured, and studied – and even experienced. As poverty has many dimensions, it has to be looked at through a variety of indicators – levels of income and consumption, social indicators, and indicators of vulnerability to risks and of socio/political access.


Measuring Poverty

Income or consumption levels

A person is considered poor if his or her consumption or income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the “poverty line”.

What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies.

Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values.

When estimating poverty worldwide, the same reference poverty line has to be used, and expressed in a common unit across countries. Therefore, for the purpose of global aggregation and comparison, the World Bank uses reference lines set at $1 and $2 per day.

It has been estimated that in 2001:

  • 1.1 billion people had consumption levels below $1 a day and
  • 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day

Work on non-income dimensions of poverty includes assembling comparable and high-quality social indicators for education, health, access to services and infrastructure. It also includes developing new indicators to track other dimensions – for example risk, vulnerability, social exclusion, access to social capital – as well as ways to compare a multi-dimensional conception of poverty, when it may not make sense to aggregate the various dimensions into one index.

Work is needed to integrate data coming from sample surveys with information obtained through more participatory techniques, which usually offer rich insights into why programs work or do not.


Participatory Approaches illustrate

  • the nature of risk and vulnerability
  • how cultural factors and ethnicity interact and affect poverty
  • how social exclusion sets limits to people’s participation in development
  • how barriers to such participation can be removed


Some Facts about children & poverty
Health Care and Nutrition

  • Measles, malaria and diarrhea are three of the biggest killers of children — yet all are preventable or treatable
  • More than 30 million children in the world are not immunized against treatable or preventable diseases
  • 95 percent of all the people who get polio are under the age of 5
  • HIV/AIDS has created more than 14 million orphans — 92 percent of them live in Africa
  • Six million children under five die every year as a result of hunger



  • 134 million children between the ages of 7 to 18 have never been to school.
  • Girls are more likely to go without schooling than boys — in the Middle East and North Africa, girls are three times more likely than boys to be denied education
  • For every year of education, wages increase by a worldwide average of 10 percent
  • Educated mothers tend to send their children to school, helping to break the cycle of poverty



  • In the last decade, more than 2 million children have died as a direct result of armed conflict
  • More than 300,000 child soldiers are exploited in armed conflicts in over 30 countries around the world
  • 2 million children are believed to be exploited through the commercial sex trade
  • Approximately 246 million children work
  • 171 million children work in hazardous conditions


Some More Facts – Did You Know….

  • More than 1 billion children suffer from a lack of proper nutrition, safe drinking water, decent sanitation facilities, health-care services, shelter, education and information.
  • Of those orphaned by AIDS, 12.1 million, or more than 80 per cent, are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Every day, nearly 1,800 children under 15 are infected with HIV. Children under 15 make up 13 per cent of new global HIV infections and 17 per cent of HIV/AIDS deaths every year.
  • About 30 per cent of rural children in developing countries are out of school, compared with 18 per cent of those living in urban areas, and over 80 per cent of all children who are not in primary school live in rural areas.
  • More than 900 million people live in slums; most lack access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities, sufficient living space and decent housing.
  • In 2004, an estimated 10.5 million children died before they reached age five, most from preventable diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases cause more than 2 million deaths every year.
  • There are some 300 million indigenous peoples in more than 70 countries, around half of whom live in Asia. Many of them face extreme exclusion.
  • There are an estimated 150 million children with disabilities in the world, most of whom face discrimination in one form or another.
  • An estimated 48 million children in 2003 – 36 per cent of total births that year – were not formally registered.
  • At the end of 2004, roughly 48 per cent of all refugees worldwide were children. During the same year, roughly 25 million people were displaced within their own countries by conflict or human rights violations.
  • At the end of 2003, there were an estimated 143 million orphans under the age of 18 living in 93 developing countries.
  • The exact number of street children is impossible to count, but estimates are that tens of millions exist across the world.
  • More than 1 million children are living in detention (jail) as a result of being in conflict with the law, according to estimates.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 246 million children between 5 and 17 are engaged in child labour. Of these, nearly 70 per cent are working in hazardous conditions – in mines, with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or with dangerous machinery. Some 73 million of them are less than 10 years old.
  • Reliable global statistics are impossible to compile, but it is estimated that trafficking affects about 1.2 million children each year.

Isaar Trust’s core work involves looking after and supporting orphans, poor and the needy. Your money will go to support orphans and the poor in the following areas: Healthcare, Education, Clothing, Food and Housing.This will ensure that children in that family are able to study and acquire relevant skills which will help them in the longer run to maintain themselves and their families, by working or engaging in business.

We are and will be supporting orphans and orphanages in poor continents such as Africa and Asia, and working in the areas of education and young people generally.