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UNICEF video

How Poverty Affects

Children: Shashas Story

HAITI: Long suffering from

poverty, children are still
reeling from the impact of
the January 2010 earthquake.
How can the cycle of poverty
be broken?

A Middle
School Unit
(Grades 68)

Unit Overview
Lesson 1: The Face of Poverty
Deepen Student Learning by Living Below
the Line

13 Lesson 2: The Cycle of Poverty

17 Lesson 3: Mapping Out Solutions
21 Common Core State Standards
22 National Content Standards
23 Handout 1: Viewing Guide for Shasha Video
24 Handout 2: Background to Shashas Story
25 Handout 3: The Roots of Poverty
26 Handout 4: Poverty Indicator Statistics for
Least Developed Countries


Handout 5: Toward Education for All in Haiti


Handout 7: Live Below the Line Journal

 andout 6: Statistics on Poverty and

Education in Haiti



TeachUNICEF was created by the U.S. Fund for UNICEFs Education Department. 2014
Unless stated otherwise, the source for all charts, figures, maps, and statistics used in this unit is: United Nations Childrens
Fund, (UNICEF), New York. Additional sources are noted when they are required. Website addresses (URLs) are provided
throughout this unit for reference and additional research. The authors have made every effort to ensure these sites and information are up-to-date at the time of publication, but availability in the future cannot be guaranteed.


How Poverty Affects Children: Shashas Story is a unit
of three lessons designed

 o increase students understanding of how
poverty affects childrens lives.
 o develop empathy with children who experience
extreme poverty.
 o explore solutions and programs that can help
break the cycle of poverty.


 o raise awareness about the multiple causes of

Enduring Understanding
Poverty is a condition with many complex roots. It deprives people, especially
children, of opportunities to develop to their fullest, which in turn leads to more
poverty. Because many of the causes of poverty stem from human activity,
people have the capacity and obligation (as global citizens) to reduce poverty
across the globe.

Essential Questions
1. What are the root causes of poverty?
2. Why is poverty particularly harmful to children?
3. What are the best ways to reduce poverty?

Lesson 1: The Face of Poverty

Students examine the meaning of poverty and what it means to people
experiencing it. They will then explore the life of Shasha, a working teen living
in poverty in Haiti, by viewing a short video and reading an accompanying
explanatory piece. They will also consider the impact of poverty on various
aspects of childrens lives.

Lesson 2: The Cycle of Poverty

Students will use statistics to examine the impact of poverty on the lives of
children in developing countries. They will look at different poverty indicators and
consider their long-term effects.

Lesson 3: Mapping Out Solutions
Students will read about a program that is attempting to address poverty in the
lives of children like Shasha in Haiti. They will also examine statistics and calculate
the extent to which progress is being made in addressing poverty in Haiti.

Caution: While the topic of this lesson is severe deprivation that

overwhelmingly touches the developing world, poverty obviously exists in
the United States, too. Teachers are strongly advised to consider their own
students experience with poverty as they progress through this unit. Especially
for students with a close connection to poverty, it is suggested to emphasize
empathy with others who are in difficult straits in their own countries. Consider
also noting that while impoverished people here can usually reach the ladder
to success, the majority of those affected by poverty in the developing world
cannot even reach the bottom rung. True global citizens can be concerned about
poverty both at home and abroad without giving short shrift to either.

In 1990, the World Bank

set the extreme poverty
rate as living at or below
$1 a day. That rate has
since been updated to
$1.25 a day.


The consequences of poverty and inequality are very

significant for children. Children experience poverty
differently from adults; they have specific and different
needs. While an adult may fall into poverty temporarily,
falling into poverty in childhood can last a lifetime
rarely does a child get a second chance at an education
or a healthy start in life. Even short periods of food
deprivation can affect childrens long-term development.
If children do not receive adequate nutrition, their
growth in size and intellectual capacity is stunted;
moreover, they are more vulnerable to life-threatening
diseases, perform worse in school, and ultimately
are less likely to be productive adults. Child poverty
threatens not only the individual child, but is likely to be
passed on to future generations, entrenching and even
exacerbating inequality in society.


Until recently, poverty was understood largely in terms

of incomeor a lack of one. To be poor meant that
one could not afford the cost of providing a proper diet
or home. But poverty is about more than a shortfall
in income or calorie intake. It is about the denial of
opportunities and choices that are widely regarded as
essential to lead a long, healthy, creative life and to
enjoy a decent standard of living, freedom, dignity, selfesteem, and the respect of others.

Measuring child poverty
The many dimensions of povertymortality, morbidity, hunger, sickness,
illiteracy, homelessness, and powerlessnessare difficult to encompass
within a single unit of measurement. In an effort to address this issue, a 2003
empirical study by the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics
has looked at seven aspects of severe deprivation as they affect children in
developing countries: adequate food, safe drinking water, decent sanitation
facilities, health, shelter, education, and information.
The study concluded that over 1 billion childrenmore than half the children
in developing countriessuffer from at least one form of severe deprivation.
The fact that every second child is deprived of even the minimum opportunities
in life is alarming. Using these criteria, about 700 million children suffer two or
more deprivations.
The investigation also confirmed that disadvantages overlap and reinforce one
another. A lack of sanitation pollutes the water that children use, and poor
nutrition makes them vulnerable to sickness and diarrhea which, if untreated,
can further reduce childrens body weight and resistance to disease. Children
who are poorly fed, frequently ill, or live in crowded homes with no electricity
or access to the media, are likely to encounter more problems in school. A child
severely deprived of shelter, struggling for space in an overcrowded home, or
living in an impoverished neighborhood may not be able to absorb an education
even if there is a school nearby.

Many child protection abuses are linked to deeply

entrenched material deprivations. One of the most
obvious ways in which material poverty facilitates
exploitation and abuse is through child labor. Material
deprivation creates economic needs that can force
the most vulnerable childrensuch as those caught
up in armed conflict, orphaned, or made vulnerable
by HIV/AIDSinto hazardous work, often at the
expense of their education and recreation. (In the
most recent survey (2012), it was determined that
85 million children are engaged in hazardous work.1)
Poverty also undermines the ability of families and
communities to protect children from violence,
discrimination, and stigmatization.


The consequences of poverty

International Labour Office, International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC),
Marking Progress Against Child LabourGlobal Estimates and Trends 2000-2012 (Geneva: International
Labour Organization, 2013), 3,

Poor access to education, food, or health-care services has particular implications
for women and children. The large disparities in most regions between the
numbers of girls and boys who have never attended school are telling evidence
of the discrimination that girls and women face. Gender discrimination is widely
recognized as a major contributor to children living in poverty: how resources are
earned, valued, and distributed depend on power relationships between men and
women within the household as well as within society.
Poverty in childhood is a root cause of poverty in adulthood, as children living in
poverty often grow up to be parents who, in turn, bring up their own children in
poverty. Possessing little money, little education, few skills for the marketplace,
and a multitude of health problems, nearly half of all the people in the world live
in poverty, without much opportunity to improve their lives. This perpetuates the
so-called development trap: Low income leads to low savings; low savings lead
to low investment; low investment leads to low productivity and low incomes.2
Breaking this trap depends on investments by governments, civil society, and
families in childrens rights and well-being, and in womens
rights. Spending on a childs health, nutrition, education, and
social, emotional and cognitive development, and on achieving
gender equality, is not only an investment in a more democratic
and a more equitable society, it is also an investment in a
healthier, more literate, and, ultimately, more productive
population. Investing in children is sound economic investment,
with high rates of return. The world has come to agree on this.
Six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (
mdg or relate directly to children.

The world is falling short in its promise and commitment to

ensure that every child enjoys a safe and nurturing childhood.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which came
to force in 1989, provides childrenin both rich and poor
countriesthe right to a childhood in which they can learn,
play, be healthy, and develop.
UNICEF is fully committed to realizing childrens rights. Its
human rights-based approach to development, guided by the
CRC, highlights the strong link between child poverty and
human rights deprivations. Its application helps improve and
sustain the realization of childrens rights and efforts to reduce
child poverty.


UNICEF and child poverty

Charles Gore, Globalization, the International Poverty Trap and Chronic Poverty in the Least Developed
Countries (paper presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy Conference,
Manchester, UK, April 79, 2003), 6,

 y directing attention, long-term commitment,
resources, and development assistance
from governments, donors, and international
organizations and UN Agencies to children.
By supporting parents, caregivers, and families to
meet their responsibilities for the upbringing, care,
and development of their children.

 y requiring a full analysis and understanding of
the situation of children, as a basis for devising
interventions that tackle povertys basic and
underlying causes.
 y ensuring that Poverty Reduction Strategies
integrate gender analysis and recognize structural
inequalities between boys and girls in the
enjoyment of their rights.


 y empowering parents, caregivers, women,
families, and civil society to participate in local
and national decision making and in democratic
processes, and to hold the state accountable for
the quality of services and availability of resources
for children.

 y providing opportunities to children, adolescents,
and other youth to express their views and
participate in all matters affecting them, and ensuring that their views are
given due weight according to their gender, age, level of knowledge, and

A case study
This unit focuses on Shasha, a 14-year-old girl living in a tent for earthquake
survivors in Haiti. On January 10, 2010, Haiti was struck by an earthquake,
measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, that led to widespread casualties, staggering
economic losses, and deep societal wounds, with the displacement of more
than 1.6 million persons from their homes. In October 2011, a second disaster
emerged in rural areas outside the earthquake zone: cholera. Rapidly spreading
through all 10 departments in less than three months, every citizen in Haiti
was touched by tragedy in 2010but children and vulnerable families bore the
brunt of the impact, facing extraordinary threats to their survival and protection.
Shasha represents the millions of Haitian children who face the dual challenge
of overcoming poverty and regaining lost ground after a natural disaster.
Today, for many children in Haiti, the situation is actually better than it was
before the disasters. UNICEF has

 elped more children go to school than ever
before, distributing school kits for 750,000
children in 2012 alone.

 rovided nutrition and breastfeeding counseling
to hundreds of thousands of mothers.
 elped reduce the percentage of underweight
children in Haiti from 18 percent in 2005 to 11.4
percent in 2012.
 acilitated the integration of a cholera-prevention
curriculum into the nations schools.


 accinated more than 3 million children, including
children who had never before been immunized.

Still, there is much more work to do to protect the

vulnerable and impoverished children of Haiti. As the global spotlight fades,
maintaining momentum for lasting change is critical. Haitis infrastructure remains
damaged and fragile. Over 300,000 Haitians still dwell in temporary displacement
camps. The challenges are many, but UNICEF remains committed to building on
the resilience demonstrated by Haitis families and helping bring a brighter future
to Haitis children.

Live Below the Line

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is a partner organization with the Global Poverty
Projects Live Below the Line initiative, and this unit offers you a way to
enhance the learning with a real-life experience. Live Below the Line challenges
individuals and communities to eat and drink on just $1.50 a day for five days,
to raise awareness of the struggle faced by the 1.2 billion people currently living
in extreme poverty. Going deeper than a simple hunger initiative, Live Below
the Line is a challenging and meaningful way to raise awareness that extreme
poverty is more than about hunger: Its about lack of choice and opportunity.
Participants taking the challenge are encouraged to fundraise for one of Live
Below the Lines partners, such as the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
The Live Below the Line challenge has been built into this unit as an optional
learning experience accompanying each lesson. There are also resources for
use outside of class time. For more information, please visit

Gordon, David, Shailen Nandy, Christina Pantazis, Simon Pemberton, and Peter
Townsend. Child Poverty in the Developing World. Bristol, UK: David Gordon
et al., 2003.

Minujin, Alberto, Enrique Delamonica, Edward D. Gonzales, and Alejandra
Davidziuk. Children Living in Poverty: A Review of Child Poverty Definitions,
Measurements, and Policies. Desk review paper for UNICEFs Conference on
Children & Poverty: Global Context, Local Solutions, New School University,
New York, April 2527, 2005.
Ortiz, Isabel, Louise Moreira Daniels, and Slrn Engilbertsdttir. Introduction.
In Child Poverty and Inequality: New Perspectives, edited by Isabel Ortiz,
Louise Moreira Daniels, and Slrn Engilbertsdttir, 1. New York: United Nations
Childrens Fund (UNICEF), Division of Policy and Practice, 2012. http://www.
United Nations. Poverty Briefing Paper. United Nations Cyberschoolbus. http://
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF). Children Living in Poverty: Issue.
Childhood Under Threat: The State of the Worlds Children 2005. http://www.
. Keeping the Promise. New York: UNICEF, 2012.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Haiti Recovery & ReconstructionUpdate on Haitis
Children. UNICEF USA.
(accessed April 11, 2014).


Lesson 1

Lesson 1: The Face of Poverty

Students will
Cite the definition of extreme poverty.
Associate extreme poverty with the situation in post-earthquake Haiti.
Describe the impact extreme poverty can have on the lives of children.


45 minutes
Grade Level
Grades 68
Extreme poverty

World map(s)
Computer and Internet access
Screen and LCD projector or interactive whiteboard
Chalkboard (if no whiteboard)

Prepare copies for each student:

Handout 1, Viewing Guide for Shasha Video

Handout 2, Background to Shashas Story

Handout 3, The Roots of Poverty


Lesson 1
Cue the video mentioned in step #4 below.
Before class starts, write the following sentences on the board:

1. Poor baby, she misses her mother!

2. There are over 16 million poor kids in the United States today.
3. We werent poor because we were rich in family, community, and culture.

Part I: Tuning In (10 min)

1. Ask the students to read the three sentences on the board, which contain
three senses of the word poor (unfortunate, low-income, and lacking
dignity). Facilitate discussion around these three senses of the word.

Connect poor with poverty and ask what poverty means to the students.
Inform students that a common worldwide measure of extreme poverty is
living on $1.25 a day or less. Ask for some quick responses to the question of
how the students would manage if they had this amount per day to spend. Ask
which sense of the word poor this way of measuring poverty best relates to.

OPTIONAL: Discuss the possible inadequacy of this measure of poverty

(e.g., it may attribute lack of dignity to people who are low-income).
3. Have students locate Haiti on a map and then ask them to tell what they
know about the country and region. If they dont know already, explain that
Haiti was hit by an earthquake in January 2010 that killed 217,300 people3
and left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable. Explain that the class
will be learning about the life of a 14-year-old girl from Haiti named Shasha,
who lives in extreme poverty.

Part II: Viewing to Learn (10 min)

4. Hand out copies of Handout 1, Viewing Guide for Shasha Video, to the
class and show the three-minute video on Shasha that can be found at Have the class take
notes on their viewing guide. If you have time, you may want to show the
video twice.

5. Afterward discuss the following questions as a group:

What did Shasha say she wants to change about her life?

What are some signs of poverty in Shashas life?

 hat are the reasons for and against Shasha focusing on work instead
of school?

What signs did you see of Shashas strengths in dealing with poverty?

Haiti, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, accessed April 12, 2014,


Lesson 1
Part III: Reading to Learn (20 min)

6. Hand out copies of Handout 2, Background to Shashas Story, to the class

and have them read it and complete the questions on their own.

7. Review the questions on the handout, and discuss the following:

What do you think it was like for Shasha to live in a tent for a year or more?

What do you imagine Shashas life was like before the earthquake?

 re there people living in poverty in your community? How do you think
poverty affects them?

Part IV: Closure (5 min)

Ask students how they think children around the world like Shasha can be
supported. Ask them what more they want to know about poverty, as well as
how they feel about studying it. Preview the homework reading about the roots
of poverty and the next lesson involving the cycle of poverty.

Have students read Handout 3, The Roots of Poverty, and answer the
accompanying questions.

Deepen Student Learning by Living Below the Line

In conjunction with this unit, consider participating on an individual, class, or
schoolwide basis in Live Below the Line. This program challenges individuals
and communities to eat and drink on just $1.50 a day for five days to raise
awareness of the lack of choice and opportunity faced by the 1.2 billion
people currently living in extreme poverty. Participants who choose to take
the challenge fundraise for a charity, such as UNICEF, whose work is vital to
ending extreme poverty. Visit to learn more
and to sign up.
See Handout 7 for a Live Below the Line Journal that helps students to
track their experiences throughout the week. Introduce students to the
Live Below the Line initiative during Lesson 1 of this unit, and then begin
subsequent lessons by having students share excerpts from their journals
and discuss the feelings and questions that arose for them as they struggled
to get by on $1.50 a day. At the conclusion of the unit, have students write an
essay, blog, or report about what they learned from Live Below the Line that
they can share with external audiences in order to continue raising awareness
about poverty. (The writing assignment in Handout 7 can be expanded to
satisfy College and Career Readiness Anchor Writing Standard 2 from the
Common Core State Standards.)



Lesson 2

Lesson 2: The Cycle of Poverty

45 minutes


Grade Level
Grades 68

Students will
Explain certain root causes of poverty.
Use statistical analysis to increase their understanding of global poverty.
Define and explain the cycle of poverty, often called the vicious circle of

Chalkboard or whiteboard
Easel paper (optional)


Cycle of poverty/
vicious circle of
Developing world
Least developed
Social exclusion

Prepare copies for each student of Handout 4, Understanding Statistics.

Write the following percentages and groups on the board:

Group 1: 40%

Group 4: 7%

Group 2: 36%

Group 5: 37%

Group 3: 65%

Group 6: 24%

Group 7: 57%


Lesson 2
Part I: Review the Homework (5 min)

1. Discuss the roots of poverty from the homework reading, including the
accompanying questions.

2. Ask students which root causes of poverty apply to the country of Haiti,
and to Shasha in particular. Indicate that while one girls story helps put a
face on poverty, the problem is global. Ask how we can learn more about
the complete picture of poverty; suggest that statistics from surveys and
research studies can help to provide a broad understanding of poverty.

Part II: Understanding Statistics (15 min)

3. Explain to the class that you are going to do an activity that shows how
poverty affects children in developing countries. Divide the class into seven
groups. Assign each group their respective percentage, as listed above and
on the board. Ask each group to calculate how many students in the class
their percentage represents. NOTE: Students should round up their answers
to whole numbersfor example, an answer of 10.7 should be rounded up
to 11.

4. Ask each group how many students their percentage represents, and give
them that number of index cards. (For example, if Group 1 calculated that
40% of the class equals 12 students, give them 12 index cards.) Have each
group write one of the following words on each of their index cards, as
outlined below.

Group 1: Shelter (write Shelter on each of the 12 cards)

Group 2: Sanitation

Group 5: Nutrition

Group 3: Water

Group 6: Health

Group 4: Information

Group 7: Education

5. Collect all the cards and distribute them randomly. (Not all students will
receive the same number of cards.) Ask all the students holding a card that
reads Shelter to stand. Explain to students that in the least developed
countries, 60 percent of children do not sleep under an insecticide-treated
mosquito net. Since most of those countries have tropical climates, this
means that those children are at greater risk of getting bitten by an infected
mosquito and developing malaria, a serious tropical disease.

Handout 4 can be
distributed to students
either before or after this
activityto reinforce
the gaps that still must
be overcome to reduce

6. Continue through the list of statistics, having students stand as they go

through each of the poverty indicators listed in Handout 4, Poverty Indicator
Statistics for Least Developed Countries.


Lesson 2
7. Ask students:

 ow many students stood up more than once? Did anyone stand up
more than twice?

 ere you aware of the different ways that poverty affects children in
developing countries?

What statistic most surprised you? Why?

Part III: The Cycle of Poverty (20 min)

8. Assign each group one of the above poverty indicators. Have students
brainstorm answers to the following question: What would be the effects
on a childs life over time if this condition were not corrected? For example,
what would be the impact on a child from being stunted?

NOTE: Encourage students to think beyond the obvious. For example,

rather than just being small in size, a stunted child might not be able to pay
attention in school (due to reduced mental capacity) or develop appropriate
physical and mental capacities to earn a good living as an adult.
9. Have groups share their answers with the whole class. Record their
responses on the board or easel paper. Circle the answers that are offered
by more than one group.

10. Discuss the following questions as a group:

Are there connections between these different aspects of poverty?

 oes one aspect of poverty lead to another? (For example, can poor
sanitation lead to poor health?)

 oes lack of one resource make it difficult to access other resources?
(For example, can lack of education make it difficult to get access to
information or health care?)

11. Indicate that the phenomenon being discussed is the cycle of poverty, also
called the vicious circle of poverty. Define cycle of poverty as a situation in
which present poverty leads to future poverty because of low investment
in things that make people more productive. Note that the investment
may take the form of economic development, or it may involve efforts that
directly address the aspects of poverty. Ask groups for their ideas about
investments that could address the aspects of poverty they focused on.

Part IV: Closure (5 min)

Ask students how they feel about the vicious circle of poverty. Mention that
poverty is in part a problem caused by humans, and therefore it is within the
capacity of humans to reduce it. Preview the study of solutions to one part of
the problem of povertylow opportunities for educationin the next lesson.


Lesson 2
Assign students to examine the latest UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children
appeal for Haiti at and to answer the following:
What are the featured plans of UNICEF and its partners for Haiti this year?
In the Haiti snapshot, what percentage of the affected child population will
be reached by UNICEF and its partners for Haiti this year?
What did you learn about UNICEFs education work in Haiti for this year?



Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Mapping Out Solutions

Students will
 escribe some UNICEF programs in Haiti and analyze data to track their
success in combating poverty.
 ite the importance of the Millennium Development Goals in reducing
extreme poverty.
Determine the importance of empathy in addressing global poverty.

45 minutes
Grade Level
Grades 68

Computer and Internet access
Screen and LCD projector or interactive whiteboard
Chalkboard (if no whiteboard)

 repare copies of Handout 5, Toward Education for All in Haiti, and
Handout 6, Statistics on Poverty and Education in Haiti.
 repare to display the webpage mentioned in step #1 below and the slide
mentioned in step #5 below.


Lesson 3
Part I: Review the Homework (5 min)

1. Show and discuss the UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children appeal
for Haiti, found at, that was assigned for
homework. Ask students to share the answers to the homework questions
and where they found the answers on the webpage. Explore other aspects
of the webpage as you see fit.

2. Discuss why UNICEFs education work might be such a small part of its overall
investment in Haiti. Help students to understand the challenge of providing
educational opportunities when there are so many other critical needs.

Part II: Reading to Learn (15 min)

3. Tell students that they will now be learning about the efforts of UNICEF and
one of its partners to increase educational opportunity in Haiti. Explain to
the class that UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to
save and improve childrens lives by supplying medicines and vaccinations,
clean water, nutrition, shelter, and education. UNICEF also responds when
emergencies occur, such as earthquakes, floods, and war. Distribute copies
of Handout 5, Toward Education for All in Haiti, and assign students to read
it individually and answer the questions that follow.

4. After reading, facilitate a discussion around the following prompts:

 ow is UNICEF demonstrating its belief that education is critical to the
development of children?

 ow does UNICEFs work in other aspects of Haitis problems also help
children get an education?

 hat else could UNICEF be doing to help children like Shasha focus on
their education?

Part III: The Millennium Development Goals (20 min)

5. Display slide 16 of the TeachUNICEF slideshow UNICEF: An Introduction at
final.pdf. Explain to the class that all of the countries that are members of
the United Nations agreed in the year 2000 to set goals for overcoming
poverty; improving health, education, and the environment; and responding
to other important global concerns. These are called the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). Explain that two of the eight MDGs are
particularly relevant to this lesson:

 DG 1: By 2015, to reduce by half the percentage of people who live on
less than $1.25 per day.

 DG 2: By 2015, to make sure that all girls and boys complete
elementary education.


Lesson 3
Mention that whether 2015 comes and goes with the goals being met or not, the
business of investing in the rights and well-being of children is never finished.

6. Distribute copies of Handout 6, Statistics on Poverty and Education in

Haiti. Have students calculate:

 y what percentage has elementary school attendance increased
between 2010 and 2012? High school attendance?

 y what percentage has the average Haitians income increased
between 2006 and 2010? Between 2010 and 2012?

How much was the average Haitian living on per day in 2012?

Review the answers as a class.

7. Facilitate a discussion around the following prompts:

 hich percentage change do you think best reflects the negative impact
of the 2010 earthquake?

 hat kinds of conclusions can one draw from the 2012 school
attendance data, compared to what came before?

 rom the data presented, do you think that Haiti will meet Millennium
Development Goal #2 by 2015? Why or why not? (NOTE: If you are
teaching this lesson after the end of 2015, you can ask whether students
think those goals were met.)

Part IV: Closure (5 min)

Note that the focus on statistics and programs to reduce poverty can
sometimes make it easy to forget that there are real children, like Shasha, who
stand to benefit from the efforts of UNICEF and its partners. Prompt students to
discuss how important empathy is to reducing poverty effectively. Discuss how
it is possible to achieve empathy when one is not living in extreme poverty.

Participate in Live Below the Line.
Research local programs to help reduce poverty in their community.
 isten to a podcast featuring the people mentioned in Handout 5 discussing
education in Haiti:
 esearch on poverty and education in other countries. Go to
statistics/index_step1.php to create customized statistical tablesyou can
select the country and the statistics that you want to view. Present findings
to the class. Include statistics suggesting the countrys progress toward
meeting Millennium Development Goals #1 and 2.


Lesson 3
 earn more about the poverty, the MDGs, and what kids are doing
worldwide to make a difference by checking out these online resources:

The UNs Millennium Campaign:

UNICEFs website on the MDGs:

The Poverty and Hunger section of UNICEFs Voices of Youth website:

Live Below the Line: (search on poverty):

Have students write a text(s) in which they

(1) explain why and how millions of children, like those they studied,
experience even greater harm from poverty than adults do;

(2) argue what institutions (e.g., governments, UNICEF) and ordinary people
should be doing to

a. empathize with children and adults suffering from poverty;

b. act to reduce poverty locally and globally.

For (1), make sure that the topics are developed with relevant, well-chosen facts,
definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
For (2), make sure that a precise claim is developed with logical reasoning and
relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the
topic, using credible sources.4

In accordance with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/
Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects


Common Core State Standards5

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading


1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to

make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when
writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

3 3 3

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their

development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and

media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts

independently and proficiently.
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing


1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive

topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient

2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey

complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through
the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development,

organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking

and Listening


1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations

and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others ideas
and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that

listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization,
development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

6. A
 cquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domainspecific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking,
and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate
independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering
a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Mathematics Domains
(for individual grade-level standards, please visit
Number and Operations in Base Ten


3 3 3

3 3

Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State
School Officers. All rights reserved.


National Content Standards

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies6
programs should include experiences that provide for the study
of people, places, and environments.


3 3 3


studies programs should include experiences that provide
for the study of how people organize for the production,
distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
9. GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: Social studies programs should
include experiences that provide for the study of global
connections and interdependence.
Standards for the English Language Arts7
1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build
an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of
the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to
respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace.

3 3 3


3 3 3

4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language

(e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with
a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use

different writing process elements appropriately to communicate
with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

8. Students use a variety of technological and information

resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks,
video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and
communicate knowledge.
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics8



Instructional programs from prekindergarten through grade 12

should enable all students to
Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data

3 3

National Council for the Social Studies, National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: A Framework
for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (Silver Spring, Maryland: NCSS, 1994), 1423.

National Council of Teachers of English and International Reading Association, Standards for the English
Language Arts (Urbana, IL, and Newark, DE: National Council of Teachers of English and International
Reading Association, 1996), 25. For a full list of standards, see

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
(Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000), 148, 214, 222, 248, 256.


Handout 1: Viewing Guide for Shasha Video

Shasha is 14 years old and lives in Haiti. One year after the 2010 earthquake, she was still living in a
tent for survivors.
As you watch the video about Shasha, take notes on the following:
1. What signs of poverty do you see in Shashas life?

2. What dangers, difficulties, or possible problems is Shasha facing?

3. What skills did you see Shasha using to deal with her poverty?


Handout 2: Background to Shashas Story9

Haiti is the least developed and one of the
most overcrowded countries in the Western
Hemisphere. Centuries of conflict, natural
disasters, and poverty have brought crushing
hardship. Even before the January 2010
earthquake, three quarters of Haitis population
of 10 million people were already surviving on
only $2 a day, and half on $1 a day. Moreover,
Haiti is one of the most unequal societies in
the world, with a minority of the population
controlling 70 percent of the nations income.
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring
7.3 on the Richter scalethe strongest in
Haiti in over 200 yearscaused catastrophic
damage. Nearly 220,000 people were killed, a
further 300,000 injured, and at least 1.6 million
forced to relocate. A total of three million
people, or 30 percent of Haitis population,
were affected.
One of these individuals is Shasha Liza, 13
years old in 2010. The earthquake destroyed
her home and killed her father, causing her to

move into a small tent with nine other people.

Its not easy to live in this camp, she told
a visitor. If we had proper tents, and better
access to water, it would be easier to stay here
for a longer period of time. Its difficult nowits
filthy, and when it rains, all the dirt turns to mud.
Shasha did not attend school in 2010, because
the earthquake crippled the education system.
It reduced 3,978 schools and learning spaces
to rubble and killed 1,500 teachers. Shasha
was one of approximately 2.5 million students
whose education was interrupted.
Shasha said she was anxious to return to
school, and because of the earthquake, she
now wants to study politics and become a
senator, with the goal of changing the Haitian
government from within. Though schools in
Haiti began to re-open as soon as three months
after the earthquake, by late 2011 (when the
video featuring her was recorded), Shasha was
still prioritizing work over school in order to help
her mother earn income for her family.

What are the major causes of Haitis poverty?

2. How has the earthquake made Haitis poverty more challenging?

3. I n what ways are you similar to Shasha? How might your own situation be different if such a
disaster were to happen in your community?

All statistics are from UNICEF.


Handout 3: The Roots of Poverty10

Poverty exists in many of the worlds wealthy countries, as well as in whole regions of the
developing world. The roots of poverty involve both economic and social causes.
Consider the following:
 lobal trade has had negative effects: Many developing countries rely on selling their
agricultural products overseas to earn money, but the prices of these products have been low
and continue to fall. At the same time, prices for fuel and other essential goods have risen. This
has led poorer countries to borrow money and increase their levels of debt.
 he rural poor have few opportunities: In many countries, a majority of people depend upon
agriculture, but most of the worlds poor either own no land or own land of poor quality for
farming. With small incomes and little chance to get loans for improvements, there is not much
opportunity to get ahead.
 here are not enough job opportunities: To escape the poverty of rural areas, many people
head toward cities to find a job, both in their own country and in other countries. But in most
countries, there arent enough decent jobsthe kinds that pay a living wageto go around. Poor
people then struggle to make a living in whatever way they can.
 he reach of services is limited: Often living in areas that have no sewerage or clean water,
poor people are much more at risk for illness and disease. They also often lack the means to get
the health care they need, or even information about how to improve their health and well-being.
 ocial exclusion is a problem: There are biases and prejudices in every country, and in some
cases there are practices that exclude people of a certain race, religion, or sex from reaching
positions of power or from getting good jobs. Some of these practices are the law of the land,
while others (like gender discrimination or not serving native peoples) have no basis in the law.
Use this space to sketch a graphic that
represents one of the root causes of poverty.
Be sure to label which one it is.

Which root cause of poverty might be the

easiest to overcome? Why?

10 Adapted with permission from United Nations, Poverty Briefing Paper United Nations


Handout 4: Poverty Indicator Statistics for

Least Developed Countries11
SHELTER: Percentage of
children not sleeping under an
insecticide-treated mosquito net




These nets protect against mosquitos

carrying the parasite that causes malaria, a
serious tropical disease.


Improved sanitation facilities ranges from

flush toilets connected to a piped sewerage
system to simple covered pits.

WATER: Percentage of
population that does not use
improved drinking water sources


Improved drinking water sources ranges

from a supply piped into a dwelling to a
protected well and simple rainwater.

INFORMATION: Percentage of
population that does not use the


SANITATION: Percentage of
population that does not use
improved sanitation facilities

NUTRITION: Percentage
of population suffering from
HEALTH: Percentage of
children under 5 not getting care
for symptoms of pneumonia
EDUCATION: Percentage of
children who never reach the last
grade of primary school




Stunting is the reduced growth resulting

from chronic nutritional deficiency between
a mothers pregnancy and her childs second
birthday. It is an irreversible condition.
Pneumonia, a severe respiratory infection, is
the leading killer of children worldwide.
This indicator only covers children who
actually enter the first grade of primary, or
elementary, school.

Least developed countries: Afghanistan; Angola; Bangladesh; Benin; Bhutan; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Central African Republic; Chad;
Comoros; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Haiti; Kiribati; Lao Peoples
Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nepal; Niger; Rwanda; Samoa; Sao Tome
and Principe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tuvalu; Uganda; United Republic of Tanzania;
Vanuatu; Yemen; Zambia

11 United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), State of the Worlds Children 2014 in Numbers: Every Child
Counts (New York: UNICEF, 2014), 41, 47, 59,


Handout 5: Toward Education for All in Haiti12

Three years after the devastating earthquake of 2010, the education of children in Haiti has
seen much improvement. Many schools have been reconstructed, and more children are going
to school now than before the earthquake. Yet more needs to be done to ensure that every
child has access to free, quality education. Expanding access to education for children at risk,
improving the quality of education, and ensuring equal opportunities for girls and boys remain
some of the main challenges for the educators and government of Haiti.
Shortly after the 2010 earthquake, Bibliothque Sans Frontires Haiti (BSF, or Libraries Without
Borders), a UNICEF-supported organization, developed Stories in a Box, a small portable library
of about a hundred items of educational and entertaining content. According to BSF Director
Jeremy Lachal, the goal was to create conditions for young children to familiarize themselves
with reading andmost importantlyhelp them overcome their trauma. We were working on
this because we thought it was very important not only to bring water, to bring supplies, to bring
food but to bring them this intellectual dimension, he explained.
According to UNICEF Education Specialist Galia Volel Ngamy, in 2011 and 2012, the Haitian
government has emphasized education in Haitis recovery. The effort is yielding clear results.
If you look at the figures that we had before the earthquake, one of two children didnt go to
schoolbut, now, its one out of four, which is great progress, she said. Nevertheless, there is
a long road ahead. What I hope is that government, with partners such as UNICEF, continues
to promote free education for children, especially for primary, she said. I am sure we will get
there. I am not sure we will get there by 2015, but probably in a few years, I am hoping well
be able to say that [Haiti] has provided education for a hundred percent of the children, she said.

1. What are some of the main challenges in education in Haiti?

2. H
 ow important do you think it was for Haitian children to have access to BSFs library in the days
after the earthquake?

12 Adapted from Rudina Vojvoda, Podcast #70: Toward Education for All in Haiti, Learning for Peace,
last modified February 19, 2013,


Handout 5
3. Why do you think more children are going to school now than before the earthquake?


Handout 6: Toward Education for All in Haiti13




% of elementary school boys who

actually go to elementary school




% of elementary school girls who

actually go to elementary school




% of elementary schoolchildren who

finish Grade 5




% of high school boys who actually go

to high school




% of high school girls who actually go to

high school







Average annual income per person

* According to UNICEF, the school attendance data for 2012 may not have met the same definition
as the data for previous years, or the data may refer to only part of the country.

13 Sources: 2008, 2012, and 2014 UNICEF State of the Worlds Children Reports


Handout 7: Live Below the Line Journal
Part 1: As you participate in Live Below the Line, fill in the chart below with the choices you make.




Day 1
Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Total Cost: $

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Five-Day Total Spent: $__________

Amount Raised for Charity: $__________


Handout 7
Part 2: At the end of each day that you participate in Live Below the Line, write at least a paragraph
exploring one or more of the questions below. At the conclusion of the five days, write a blog post of
at least 400 words discussing your overall feelings and insights as a result of your participation. You
may choose instead to make a video diary, photo essay, Pinterest board, or another form of creative
expression to reflect your thoughts.
Ten Questions About Your Live Below the Line Experience
1. What was hardest about today? What was easiest? Why?
2. What decision or choice did you wrestle with most? Explain.
3. What was it like to shop in the grocery store or other food establishment? What thoughts or
feelings came up for you as you shopped?
4. W
 hat did you need to get through the day and what did you want? What is the difference
between the two?
5. W
 hat types or categories of food did you mostly eat to stay within your budget? What did you
learn from this?
6. W
 hat kind of planning did it take for you to be successful? Do you think you could plan this way
every week, month, or year? Why, or why not?
7. H
 ow did it feel to be surrounded by others with more resources and choices than you had? How
did you react to them (either in your own mind or outwardly)?
8. If you had just a little more todaysay $.50 or $1 morehow would that have made a
difference? What do you take away from this?
9. H
 as participation in Live Below the Line affected your performance at school, at your job, or
elsewhere? Explain.
10. How did you feel both physically and emotionally at the end of the day? How did you cope with
the feeling of being hungry?