Inequalities lead to feelings of despair, depression, and anxiety often associated with
substance use disorders. Consider the following scenario: Mr. Banda is a middle-aged man
living in rural Malawi with a wife and three young children. He often travels to find work
while his wife and children maintain the family farm to sustain themselves. Recently, Mr.
Banda found out he was HIV positive without access to HIV antiretroviral therapy in the
village. He became severely depressed and turned to alcohol to help him cope as an
available social outlet. Over time, he started to drink on credit against his family’s harvest.
When harvest time came, the tavern owner showed up at Mr. Banda’s home demanding
half of his harvest to pay off his debt. Mr. Banda has come to you to ask for help. How
would you respond to Mr. Banda after he shared his story with you? Discuss three social or
economic inequalities influencing Mr. Banda’s actions and options. How would you
leverage the strengths of faith-based organizations or
churches in the area to address these factors influencing Mr. Banda’s options assuming
others in the community are going through similar situations? Watch the “Aid and
Development” video to help you in answering this discussion question.
Helping the Poor Communities
After Banda shares his story, my response will be that there is a need to help him. As a
Christian, I understand the challenges that Mr. Banda is facing are not his making. He has a
family comprising of a wife and three children that need his support. Mr. Banda seems
determined to offer financial assistance to his family by regularly traveling to find work.
Recently, Mr. Banda realized he was HIV positive without access to HIV antiretroviral therapy
in the village. He got depression and eventually turned to alcohol consumption as an available
social outlet to cope with the situation.
One of the economic inequalities that forced Mr. Banda to take such action is the unequal
access to employment opportunity between the poor and the rich. Since Mr. Banda comes from
an economically challenged family, he seems to travel often to find work. Most people coming
from affluent families have connections with company owners and other organizations where
they get employed. In most cases, such individuals can afford to pay for health care services in
the best places.
HELPING THE POOR COMMUNITIES 2
Mr. Banda’s story also reveals the existence of the income gap as social inequality.
Despite the fact he was working, Mr. Banda was certainly not earning enough to allow him to
seek medical assistance outside the village. Conversely, those people who earn high salaries
would not go through the same challenges because they can afford to travel and seek services in
private hospitals that are expensive and not accessible to low-income earners.
Another social inequality that influenced Mr. Banda’s actions is the social class that led
unequal access to health care between the rich and the poor. The fact that he comes from a rural
village in Malawi is an indication that the health facilities are not sufficient to serve the local
community. Indeed, this is clearly shown by the fact that Banda cannot access HIV antiretroviral
therapy because it is not available in the village. There are high chances that such therapies
would be made available to the people living in the cities or other wealthy neighborhoods since
they have a higher social status.
I would leverage the strength of the faith-based organizations and churches to deal with
the social and economic inequalities that influenced Mr. Banda to result in drinking. The idea of
helping the vulnerable people is not new, as it is mentioned in the Old Testament, where laws
required the rich to leave some harvest for the poor communities (Paltzer, 2016). Today, foreign
aid is used to assist communities in achieving some level of economic development. Therefore, I
would urge faith-based organizations to step in and help the community in Mr. Banda’s village
by initiating development projects, such as farming, to ensure consistent income for the
vulnerable population. Such organizations and churches should also use foreign aid to improve
the health facilities in the village (Bob, 2017). With time, health care should be improved in
many other regions in Malawi and other such countries. Foreign aid can be utilized through the
construction of more health centers in the village. They should also be stocked with the
HELPING THE POOR COMMUNITIES 3
appropriate medication, such as HIV antiretroviral, which should be free or affordable to the
villagers. As a result, many poor people in the community who are suffering like Mr. Banda will
have access to health care.
Bob, M. (2017). Faith-based development: How Christian organizations can make a difference.
Paltzer, J. (2016). Aid and development [Video].