Poverty History

Click to download as a PDF

Make Poverty History 

The facts, figures and games from on this assembly have been taken and developed from various websites.

The Bible

As Christians, we believe that God is passionate about all people, especially those who are poor, needy or unable to help themselves. We believe that God hates abuse and arrogance. We believe God calls us to take positive action to make a difference. Even if you aren’t a Christian, these words may well help you..

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27 (New International Version)

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

James 1:27 (The Message)


  • In 2015, 736 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day (down from 1.85 billion in 1990).
  • Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen. (UNICEF) 
  • The net worth of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon (July 2018) was $150 billion. This is more than the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations ($147 billion in total).
  • Around 800 million people go hungry each year.
  • Approximately 3.1 million children die from under-nutrition each year.
  • Overall, 5.6 million children under age five died in 2016, nearly 15,000 daily. Hunger and under-nutrition account for around half of child deaths each year.
  • Over 100 million children around the globe are out of school.
  • The wealth of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is greater than that of Ethiopia, Africa’s oldest nation.

Facts (accessed January 2018) from https://www.worldhunger.org/world-child-hunger-facts/ and https://www.gobankingrates.com/net-worth/business-people/richest-people-compared-to-gdp-countries/ and https://www.compassion.com/poverty/poverty.htm and https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/if-jeff-bezos-were-a-country-his-wealth-would-make-him-the-56th-richest/articleshow/65041147.cms

Simple Game 1 

Get 4 volunteers up to the front. You will need a packet of mini mars bars (or similar). 3 of the volunteers get 2 mars bars each. The final volunteer is physically placed some distance away from the other 3. What the 3 volunteers have to do is to go and trade with the final volunteer. They must give both of their mini mars bars to the final volunteer. In return, the final volunteer hands back only 1 mini mars bar each to the 3 volunteers. The point is that fair trade rules are unfair and weighted against the poorer countries.

Simple Game 2

Click to download a PowerPoint with the two chocolate images

Get a large chocolate bar. Have 6 volunteers come up to the front of the room.

SAY: We’re going to pretend that this chocolate bar represents the total cost of selling a pair of trainers, so say the trainers cost £60. The 6 volunteers up the front represent the people who are involved in the production and sale of that pair of trainers. We’re going to divide up the chocolate bar according to how much money each person gets from the sale and production of the trainers. We’re going to use a chocolate bar as we can divide it up to see what share of the cost of the trainers. Let’s see who gets what… 

Before the assembly – divide the mars bar by cutting it into to the measurements / specifications of this represented below.

SAY: The workers only get around 0.5% of a product’s value. So if the trainers were £60 then the worker would only receive 30 pence… On this image of a chocolate bar, the tiny yellow area represents the worker’s wage..

This image shows the percentage of the chocolate bar that the workers would earn (if the chocolate bar was a pair of trainers!)

NB. The source for this was from Tearfund Youth Pages which are now found here – https://weare.tearfund.org (accessed January 2018)


True Story – a  Christian Aid worker went to work abroad as a doctor and was able to help many people. However, one woman came along and demanded a toy for her child. He said he didn’t have one and she was very annoyed as she’d travelled a lot to get there. You see, other people doing work there before had brought toys and just given them out (usually big American charities) and this had created what’s called a ‘dependency culture.’ So people end up depending on aid from the West, and not really being helped or empowered to help themselves or others. So we need to be very careful.

Video / DVD / Personal Clip

You could get someone in from an organisation like Tearfund or one of the many local Christians who have visited somewhere in need and get them to give a very brief case study or personal story.

Otherwise, there are video and DVD resources from Christian AidTearfund etc. 

What can you do?

  • Support www.sendmyfriend.org/ to encourage a campaign to enable 100 million children to school globally
  • Get your school to support charities who help alleviate poverty (like CAP) or other charities working abroad.
  • Write to your local MP – www.writetothem.com
  • Support those charities who help people in the 2/3 world by empowering them to do things for themselves 
  • Bring in a load of Fair Trade goods – chocolate, coffee, bananas, tea etc. All are available from some retailers or online. Encourage people to buy fair trade.
  • Think about what you’re buying before you buy. Do you need it? Really?
  • Recycle stuff, don’t just chuck stuff away. Finish your food. Don’t use more energy than needed. Buy goods locally etc.
  • Be prepared to pay a bit extra for what you wear and eat. Make positive choices about what you wear, buy, where you bank and shop. 

TAKE ACTION. It does affect you and you can make a difference!