Poverty World

Uplift and Empower: A Guide to Understanding Extreme Poverty and Poverty Alleviation

This blog post is an excerpt from the book Uplift and Empower: A Guide to Understanding Extreme Poverty and Poverty Alleviation. 

Eradicating extreme poverty will require a fundamental shift in paradigms and a reconsideration of the way we view and interact with low-income countries, communities, and individuals. In fact, calling people living in poverty “the poor” is an example of this which is why, for the rest of my work, I will be referring to “the poor” with names: Robin, Drew, Taylor, and Cameron. 

My intention with the names is to humanize poverty and provide a sense of similarity. I purposefully chose gender neutral names popular in the United States in the hopes you may even know someone or recognize a prominent figure with the same name.  

Rather than thinking of low-income individuals in the abstract sense as a distant part of human life, with names people can begin to consider the roles these people play in their communities. A Robin is as much of a family relative, community member, leader, role model, and friend as a Drew, Taylor, or Cameron.

Instead of pitting the “developed” world against the “developing” world, these names represent the four income levels used to describe the world. This practice of dividing the world into four income levels was introduced by Hans Rosling, a Swedish physician and academic who co-authored the award-winning book Factfulness. Now, not only does Rosling use this model, but so do Bill Gates and the World Bank.

The reasoning behind the idea is to move away from the outdated and nebulous titles of “developing” and “developed.” A planet with over seven billion people in it living at various levels of income and comfort shouldn’t be described by two vague categories.

Instead, the world is categorized by income level. This gives a more accurate picture than simply saying “rich” or “poor.” With levels, every dollar counts. In particular, the four income levels divide the world based on gross national income per capita because GNI measures all of the money businesses and people in a country earn as income.Business Insider created a helpful summary of the system I will use to describe the levels, in addition to their corresponding names, along with information shared by Gapminder, an organization focused on fighting misconceptions about global development founded by Hans Rosling and his children. Any time I use the phrase “the poor” from now on, it will be in quotes to indicate I am using it in reference to someone else’s ideas and wording.

Level 1 is the income level most relevant to this work…

[For a full breakdown of the income levels and their corresponding names, read chapter three of Uplift and Empower!] 

The four major income levels are a helpful way to contextualize the differences between relative and absolute poverty. Relative poverty, in this context, would be represented by the difference between Drews, Taylors, and Camerons. Though their income levels differ, their basic needs are met for the most part. Maybe Drews and Taylors, depending on where you are from, would not be considered middle class, but they are not as low-income as Robins. Their children can attend schools and receive vaccinations and they can travel abroad for vacation.

Relative poverty explains why a person living at the poverty line in the United States is considered to be part of the richest 14 percent of the world’s population and explains why, from a Cameron’s perspective, Robins, Drews, and Taylors look equally poor. It also explains why it matters there are millionaires while people are living in abject poverty—especially in the context of a world where people are easily able to compare their ways of living to others.

In contrast, the world’s Robins live in absolute poverty. Each day is a struggle for survival met with vast uncertainty regarding whether or not they, or their children, will be able to eat, find drinking water, or have a good night’s rest. Robins live in a state of economic and emotional distress.

Why is this distinction so important? Because our general sense of well-being is tied to both our absolute wealth and our relative wealth. Further, as the Roslings mentioned in Factfulness, “Often it takes several generations for a family to move from Level 1 to Level 4.”


Uplift and Empower was published on August 15. You can order a copy at:! (The book is also available for sale at, Kobo, Walmart, and other distributors worldwide. Check for more options.) 

If you want to connect, you can reach me via email at or connect with me on social media:

Instagram (@daniellehawatarigha)

Facebook (Uplift and Empower)

Twitter (@danielle_hawa)


As a teenage girl, how do you experience sexism on a daily basis?

Teenage girls are affected by sexism on a daily basis. Gender inequality is apparent in all aspects of teenage life from family life to getting a job to harassment from classmates at school. How do 5 girls from all around America experience sexism on a daily basis? Find out below!

Kaamya Mehra (GA, 16)

“Growing up, I have realized that sexism does not begin at one age, but is rather experienced throughout a female’s life. Whether it’s a bias in my intelligence or my athletic ability, sexism has always played a big role in my mental health and of what others thought about me”

Ellie Pennington (VA, 16)

“I am very determined in school and hope to have a future as a woman in STEM. However, it is difficult to achieve this because I face sexism every day in my classes or when I tell people about my future plans. I will never forget when I told a boy in my math class what I got on a test and he replied, “Oh that’s so surprising… I just assumed you were dumb because you like makeup and talk about irrelevant things.” When I went to a STEMposium conference for my school, my male team members told me that I should just work on the powerpoint presentation instead of the machine we had to build. It is really unfortunate how low the numbers are of girls who want to go into STEM because so many people tell them they aren’t smart or good enough.”

Annie DeCastro (Singapore, 16)

“I have never been explicitly told that I have fewer opportunities because I am a girl, so for those that do not experience it, it seems nonexistent As a girl who has played sports my entire life and is interested in a career in STEM, I have countless examples”

Catherine Blau (NJ, 16)

“As a teenage girl living with three older brothers, I’ve experienced sexism within my own family. My parents routinely make sure I’m not walking home from a friends house alone at night. Before going on a trip across the country without my family, my mom took me to a self defense class. I’ve been criticized for the clothes I wear as they could attract to much attention. My brothers haven’t experienced these obstacles. The reality of this is, my experiences have been determined by the physical advantage men have over me as a 16 year old girl.”

Ludia Kim (NJ, 16)

Just like every other teenage girl I have TikTok and it’s a public platform where anyone can post anything. I have seen so many videos of girls showing that they’re being followed by someone or some girls telling others how to know if they’re being watched or chosen as a victim for human trafficking. It’s sad how girls knowing to put keys between their fingers for a stronger hit or always checking their car is so normalized. Personally, I do not experience it often because I live in a pretty safe neighborhood and surround myself with people that care for me. However, this is not provided for everyone and men still body shaming women. The fact that rape and sex trafficking cases are still so high is disgusting. Some people still see women as objects or weaker than men. Though a lot of people have changed their views on women, the fact that there are still people who think this is sickening. Woman being cautious about sex trafficking or being followed should not be normalized. People need to learn how to protect others and change their perspectives on this issue because it’s been going on for too long.


There is Still a Long Ways to Go

Graphics: Analisa Hernandez


When we see headlines about the legal advancements that have been made in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, it’s easy to assume that queerphobia doesn’t still affect the community, but that isn’t the case. 

Same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States in  2015, but the LGBTQ+ community was and is still suffering due to the lack of support that is given to us. Although there was legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, many gay men who were surveyed in the years after reported experiencing anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol abuse as well as feelings of loneliness and isolation. Despite the support for said legislation going from 27 percent in 1961 to 61 percent in 2016, gay people are between two and ten times more likely to commit suicide and two times more likely to have a major episode of depression than heterosexuals(1). The right to marry was equal under the law, but the queer community was and is still being neglected in society. The effects of this neglection include, exclusion of LGBTQ+ history and sex education in schools, bullying, and self-hatred that increases the likelihood of mental illnesses leading queer individuals to take their own lives.

On Monday, June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that members of the LGBTQ+ community are protected from job discrimination under Title VII, a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (2). As it should be, this ruling is being celebrated as a significant victory for the queer community, but legal policies are not all it will take for us to achieve complete social equality. 

Even with the Supreme Court’s new ruling, employers could still turn away people who are visibly queer. People who don’t fit into the gender binary and present outside the norm for the gender they were assigned at birth could be denied the position because the way they present is perceived as unprofessional or because they “wouldn’t fit” with the organization that they’re being interviewed for. Those like me who “pass” as heterosexual and are comfortable presenting the way they’re “supposed to” according to their sex are truly protected under Title VII, but people who look and/or act stereotypically queer may not always be. Interviewers who have biases against the LGBTQ+ community aren’t going to stop feeling that way because the laws changed, and until these biases aren’t acceptable in society, discrimination will continue to happen. 

As a girl who likes girls, it was difficult for me to come to terms with my sexuality due to the fetishization and stereotyping of queer women in American society. For example, we see this objectification of queer women at corporate levels, such as the porn and advertisement industry, in which these types of reletionships are mistreated and abused for entertainment. Before I came out, I would exaggerate or even fake crushes on boys because I would rather have people think I was “boy crazy” than come out and have people think I’m predatory or overtly sexual. Since coming out, I’ve had boys make inappropriate sexual comments about me, and others have said that I can’t possibly be queer because of how feminine I present.

 At my high school, you can’t go a day without hearing someone use the word “gay” as an insult. I’m extremely lucky to have friends and family who love me for who I am no matter what that is, but for someone who doesn’t have that, experiencing these things can be incredibly damaging. With little to no normalization of LGBTQ+ identities, there will continue to be the idea that these things are weird or unnatural. Acceptance comes from understanding, and if students are exposed to different kinds of people, they’re more likely to treat everyone with human decency.

We cannot continue to be complacent with the progress that we have made because there is still a long way to go. Our children need to be taught to respect and listen to queer voices and be tolerant of individuals considered not to fit societal norms, and those of us in the community who pass need to recognize our privilege and listen to those who don’t. 

Staff Writer: Maeve Korengold

Maeve Korengold is sixteen years old, a rising junior in high school. She loves music, and she sings in her school choir and she plays the guitar. She is very passionate about writing, and aspires to pursue a career in it in the future.

Graphics: Analisa Hernandez

Works Cited:

  1. Hobbes, Micheal. “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness.” HIGHLINE, 2 Mar. 2017, Accessed 20 June 2020.

  1. Sherman, Mark. “Justices Rule LGBT People Protected from Job Discrimination.” 

     AP News, 15 June 2020, Accessed 20 June 2020.