I am sure most of you could name some of the individuals featured at the top of the Forbes 100 rich list. What about the other end of that list? The Bottom 100, but rather number 6,000,000,001.
Most of you would struggle to name someone who was at the other end. When you think of the poor, it tends to be an amorphous, impersonal, collective of people that many of you in developed countries will rarely, if ever, meet.
Why does this matter? Why does it matter if you never meet a person facing extreme poverty?
If we can not put a face to an issue, if we can not humanise an issue, we can become cold and numb to it. In a materialistic Society such as ours, that glorifies wealth, there is a tendency to praise those who have made it, and to imagine that for someone who did not make it, there must be something wrong with them.
It is incredibly easy to write someone off if you just think of them as being lazy, or not that smart, or riddled by alcoholism or drug addiction.
And if you write people off, because you can not identify with them, then you are never going to feel compelled to do anything to improve their lives.
The Bottom 100 is not a scientific study. It is not a ranking. It does not aim to bring forth any sort of landmark discovery into the issue of poverty. But it does aim to tell a story, and to make you think.
What all the stories of The Bottom 100 have in common are circumstances – it is circumstance that has led people to experience the abject poverty they face.
Violence. Conflict. Disaster. Displacement. Illness. Discrimination. Exclusion. Intolerance. Persecution. A loss of control over their own lives and their own destinies.
Through The Bottom 100 people will recognise the humanity of poverty, and understand how and why people find themselves in severe poverty. Take action on this issue.