Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dignity restores a man born poor

Gawad Kalinga, a religiously linked program in the Philippines, builds housing for squatters. Founder Tony Meloto understands the natural evolution of squatter communities. But he offers this controversial thought: "If you want to bring the country out of poverty, give the poorest of the poor a middle class environment so they have middle class aspirations. The problem of poverty is not economic, it is behavioral." The Philippine Daily Inquirer, via INQ7, has the story.


Bryan Finoki said...

Great find, rob.

There are some good quotes in that article, and the point about poverty first be alleviated by a change in our perceptions of it, is critical. Start there, and coalitions around bottom-up building build themselves. It's not just a question of providing a better roof, or improving the functionality of the village, but creating a whole context around the ways poverty is viewed, both from the squatter villages' stand point and the gated communities'. walls most easily come down through changes in perception, first, then, the rest can more easily fall into place.

keep rockin' this blog, man, seriously, one of the most valued resources on the web for this subject.

rn said...

Agreed, Bryan. It's great to know that someone understands the simple point that you don't eradicate communities in order to save them and sees that perceptions (including self-perception) are key. Still I don't know whether church-based charitable programs are sustainable. Working with people to do things themselves, and as a community, doesn't require religious supervision.

(fact check point: because of a typo, the article overstates the impact of the Gawad Kalinga effort. Unless they're building 10-family apartment buildings all over the Philippines, 15,000 homes means 75,000 people have benefitted, not 750,000.)