Spiritual and Relational Poverty

Poverty may be defined as a lack of resources necessary to adequately meet basic needs for
nutrition, shelter, education, clothing, recreation, and health care and lead a life of dignity.
It may appear that this definition asks for too much to overcome poverty. However, since
there is extreme poverty as well, poverty should be defined as living above the extreme
poverty level.
Based on this definition, the focus of poverty alleviation would be providing resources to
ensure that people have their basic needs met. For example, possible solutions to poverty
include providing universal health coverage or universal benefit. Another possible solution
is raising minimal wage. These solutions would focus on ensuring that all the people have
resources or/and access to services necessary to lead a minimally good life of dignity.
Relational poverty means a lack of a social support system and being poor in one’s
community. Spiritual poverty means being caught up in thinking that one is less than
human and his personhood is of a lower value. Spiritually poor feel that they have very
little to contribute to society and cannot be productive members of society. Based on the
discussed poverty definitions, the focus of solutions seeking to alleviate poverty would
change to include counseling, integrating the poor in community life, and providing
spiritual assistance.
A solution to poverty that addresses relational aspects of poverty is integrating relational
agenda in health care (Feldman, 2018). Practical examples of such solution include
normalizing the relations between the poor and others living in the same
neighborhood/community and engaging the poor in community initiatives that give them
an opportunity to connect with other community members, expand their social network,
and build social capital (Feldman, 2018). In particular, health care providers can connect
their poor patients with nonprofits and community projects providing free counseling,
screening, preventive interventions, and other health care services to uninsured and
underinsured individuals or educate the poor how to apply for health coverage under the
Affordable Care Act.
Reference
Feldman, G. (2018). Towards a relational approach to poverty in social work: Research
and practice considerations. British Journal of Social Work, 2018, 1-18.

Spiritual and Relational Poverty

Hello Ratib,
Your post was great as you manage to define and clearly explain each concept. Your
presentation is excellent since you dedicate a full paragraph for each idea; this approach enables
the reader to understand your post clearly. I was particularly interested in your definition of
relational and spiritual poverty since we are all familiar with the conventional definition of

SPIRITUAL AND RELATIONAL POVERTY 2
poverty. You articulate that relational means the lack of social support, while spiritual poverty
means having thoughts that someone is less human and has a lower value. These definitions are
clear and concise since relational poverty results from the lack of social connections, while
spiritual poverty is caused by an inferiority complex that makes a person feel that he/she is less
valuable (Coleman et al., 2018). Therefore, any forms of intervention for these forms of poverty
require a psychological aspect. Excellent post, Ratib.

SPIRITUAL AND RELATIONAL POVERTY 3

References

Coleman, M., Doshi, S., Heynen, N., Borges, A., Da Costa, D., Giles, D. B., … & Negron-
Gonzales, G. (2018). Relational Poverty Politics: Forms, Struggles, and
Possibilities (Vol. 39). University of Georgia Press.

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