Most of us forget that poverty exists. We forget as we pull out our phones to get updated on Facebook, as we drive in our air conditioned vehicles, as we contemplate whether or not to purchase a new piece of clothing.
I used to forget about poverty. When I was a child, it was a fact that I would be educated until I graduated from high school. There were no ‘ifs’ nor ‘buts’ about it. It was a fact that I would be fed three nutritious meals a day – I have never in my life gone to bed hungry. It was a fact that if I got sick or hurt myself, I would have access to healthcare.
After the LiveDifferent Academy’s house build, I will never forget about poverty. During our build, I met Elizabeth, a nine year old girl, who is one of the children of the family we built for. She deserves to have all of the opportunity in the world. However, due to circumstances that she was born into, it is not all available for her.
It is not a fact that she will be educated until she graduates. While she is currently in school, she does not have her birth certificate—a surprisingly common occurrence—which is needed to attend high school. It is not a fact that she will be fed three nutritious meals per day. As her father’s work in the fields is seasonal the food that they can afford is limited. Elizabeth’s diet consists mostly of salsa and quesadillas, and I would not be surprised if she has gone to bed hungry before. It is not a fact that if she gets hurt or sick that she will have the access to health care she needs. If a family can hardly afford food, what can they do to pay the medical bills?
It was such a privilege to give Elizabeth’s family have a hand-up to break out of their cycle of poverty by helping to build them a home. As we dedicated the house to them, tears were streaming down her face. She may be forever grateful to us for what we gave her family, but I am sure that all of us who built are forever grateful for the lesson that she and her family taught us – that any one of us can be a part of making a difference in someone’s life, and sparking the change that will now continue to happen for her family. That I will never forget.
– Hannah, LiveDifferent Academy Student, Fall 2014