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www.pac-cambodia.org

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BENEFITING:

Malaine Som

THE STORY:

Realities of Poverty
Poverty is a multidimensional problem, with numerous causes and contributing factors because of its complexity and subtleties, misconceptions abound about the poor. One common belief is that poverty is caused by overpopulation. Judged by the standard of the UN Human Development Report, Cambodia is among the poorest countries in the world: it ranks 121 out of 164 on the human development index.

Poverty in Cambodia is unfortunately rife due to years of civil war. Poverty continues to become more entrenched with each generation as two issues conspire to keep these families poor: a lack of educational opportunities for the children and a lack of clean water. When clean water is present, children are healthy enough to learn. Help families gain access to clean water by financially supporting them to construct wells, protect the well water from contamination and use the water to improve their health. Poverty is directly related to health, education, housing, political opportunities, and other factors. Likewise, poverty worsens people's social status and diminishes their involvement in their communities and in the larger sphere.

Many people think that if the poor would only stop having children they could rise out of poverty, moreover, they think the poor are lazy or that the poor are dangerous, criminals, or mentally illness. It is very difficult to specify how many women and children all over Cambodia are faced with poverty, lack of education, physical abuse and sexual abuse and it is very difficult to ignore what’s going on in Cambodia.

Poverty in Cambodia is widespread with some 36 percent of the Cambodian population living below the poverty line of US$0.46-0.63 at the current exchange rate. Generally, people move in and out of poverty, which makes definition of poverty lines and better knowledge about cyclical, seasonal and unexpected shocks important. Current level of poverty largely results from high population growth, inadequate opportunities, low capabilities, insecurity, exclusion, and vulnerability. Therefore, before we technically measure poverty we should first and foremost understand the multidimensional nature of poverty. For the moment we focus in turn on lack of opportunities, lack of capabilities, social exclusion, and vulnerability in the sections that follow.

Poverty was defined as a deprivation of common necessary that determine the quality of life or standard of living of people, including food, cloth, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment and less access to the health. There are two type of poverty “Absolutely poverty” and “Relative poverty”.

Absolutely poverty is defined as a people that living below the poverty line “Not fit to the basic need/standard of living”. At current prices, the total poverty line in 2004 was estimated at 2351 Riel (US$ 0.59) in Phnom Penh, 1952 Riel (US$ 0.49) in other urban areas and 1753 Riel (US$ 0.44) in rural areas.

Relative poverty are defined as a poor people live in the country that compare to the poverty in the country, normally, they can earn less than 2 dollar per day, but not living in absolutely poverty.

Poverty may affect individuals or groups of people living in the society in Cambodia, and is not confined to the third nation country like our country. The main cause of poverty in Cambodia was characterized by low income, low consumption, few assets, poor nutritional status, starvation, low educational attainment, illiteracy and less capacity, less access to public services including school and health services, less access to economic opportunities, high population grow, physical weakness of household, lack of contacts in society, little participation in decision making or in society, vulnerability and instability of political processes.

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