I have never had to walk 10 kilometres then catch a train in order to work at a minimum wage job. I haven’t gone hungry so I can feed my kids like Tina, nor have I been one of a family of eight in a cold, damp, two-bedroom flat like Helen. Instead I have led a fortunate and somewhat sheltered life.
If you are like me, then the recent research “Speaking for Ourselves” by Auckland City Mission is an important read. Based on interviews with 100 Auckland families living in poverty, it is an eye-opening, sobering and highly readable account of the day to day reality of poverty. Nine themes (Debt, Justice, Housing, Employment, Health, Food insecurity, Services and Education) are explored, using personal stories, analysis, suggestions for change and quotes.
For those of us in the funding world, this research is particularly relevant. Because one of the paradoxes of funding is that those of us with the resources and experience to be “a funder” are often many steps removed from the reality of the needs we may seek to address. These first-hand insights will help a little to bridge that gap.
Congratulations to City Missioner and CE Diane Robertson and her team on this excellent publication, and to JR McKenzie Trust for helping to fund this. It is recommended reading for all funders and for anyone with an interest in poverty. And, perhaps, recommended even more strongly for anyone who isn’t interested.
Walk a mile in Tina and Helen’s shoes – if not 10 kilometres to take a train to work.