• H. M. L. Swann


"When I lived in the woods, I learned cool skills like how to make a fire. Plus, my dad still lived with us back then..."

This broke my heart.

How do you console a ten-year-old who confides this in you

when you’re just their tutor?

This was a student who was held up to the same educational expectation. Held responsible to achieve the same state standard test scores as everyone else. Yet they were dealing with more challenges than some adults will ever comprehend. Food, shelter, safety, support: these things were not a given.

The fear of poverty is a mix of emotions: it’s the loss of security and safety. Its hunger. Its shame. It clutches at the heart, clenches the chest until it becomes hard to breathe.

And I’ve been thinking about this blog post and trying to decide how to present these musings.

It got me thinking of an interview I had when I was working in public service. The conversation turned to poverty and homelessness in our city. But here’s the thing: no one wants to be homeless. No one wants to be in poverty. In so many ways we as a society lock people into their fate.

I’ve just moved to the UK, and I’ve had a hell of a time opening a bank account. I’ve finally gotten there, but it required very specific paperwork, smart phone apps, internet access, and ultimately: proof of residence!

This got me thinking, if you were struggling to find a permanent place to live, how could you make any steps towards moving forward. If you can’t even get a bank account, then how can you play the game, get of the grid, and move on?

“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”  — Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations

The blogs in the Nest have closed with my own two cents or thoughts to help, but with the fear of poverty, there is no easy answer. What we need as a society is to have empathy.

We need to try to understand each other. We need to be aware of our own selves. We need to acknowledge our privilege or struggle. We need to take stock of what we have and ultimately, know that we’re all in this together.

Let’s take care of each other.


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