Understanding the Cycle of Poverty
Poverty reinforces itself. Education is key to breaking the cycle but in Ghana, education is paid privately by the student’s family, not the state. So when parents cannot pay, which is common, a promising young girl’s basic education stops at the elementary level. This girl then stays home for years with the hope of someday receiving enough support either to go back to school or learn a trade. It is unlikely that she’ll receive that support.
And a girl with little education and no financial assistance can find herself in compromising situations that include abusive relationships or even prostitution. Most likely, the girl becomes pregnant and the man involved does not want anything to do with her or raising the child. That child is born into the same situation as her mother and the cycle continues. Her decisions at that point are tough:
to live in the village near her family but with no opportunities or future, or to migrate to the city and to live under very harsh conditions of prostituting or selling food items in the middle of the road, and exposing herself and her child to all forms of danger and abuse. This she does in the hopes of building a better life for herself and family.
Either way, whether in the village or in the city, life does not get any better. What little money she makes goes to health bills, daily meals, and support for her family. She lives hand to mouth and there is never enough savings to support her child through school. Without any interventions, the child grows up and goes through the same circle as her mother and grandmother.