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How to Work with People in Poverty

Building Trust

    • The first step to breaking poverty barriers is to examine your attitudes and beliefs about poverty and those who live in it. Your attitudes and beliefs will shape your tone of voice, your body posture, your facial expressions, and your actions.
    • Develop a deeper understanding of poverty and its impacts on people.
    • People faced with poverty feel like no one cares - so be someone that does.
    • Focus on and build on strengths. When communicating with someone in poverty listen for their strengths. If they tell you that they are losing their home, are unemployed and are raising 3 kids, but they are trying to do odd jobs to help pay the bills, find the strengths. They are obviously a strong person, resourceful and want to be a good example to their children.
    • Treat people special. Show people what is unique about them.
    • Become aware of what assets are in a person’s life. Work to connect people to
      missing assets.
    • Help people build their address books and grow their networks.
    • When we attribute motive to someone’s behavior, we set ourselves up for judgment and relationship breakdown. Believe people are making decisions and behaving in ways that make sense from their perspective. Seek to understand the “Why” behind behavior from the individual’s point of view. Once you understand their perspective, you can share other ideas for responding to situations.

    From:Breaking The Iron Cage of Poverty:Tips for working with people who live in the crisis of poverty