The Bottom 100 Shines a Light on the World’s Poor
21 June 2017 at 4:59 pm
A global not for profit dedicated to fighting poverty has launched The Bottom 100, a list of the world’s poorest individuals who are struggling at the other end of “rich lists”.
The initiative, launched by Fund for Peace on Tuesday to coincide with World Refugee Day, aims to give those “at the bottom” facing extreme poverty caused by war, ethnic, religious, or social persecution, climate change or forced displacement, a face and a voice “for the first time”.
The organisers hope the list, which features personal stories of 100 of the world’s poorest individuals, will provoke greater action by governments, businesses and organisations and give hope to the refugee community that they have a “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Fund for Peace executive director J.J. Messner said it was time to talk about the people at the bottom.
“While the world talks about – and glorifies – so-called ‘rich lists’, the attention has nearly always gravitated to those at the top. But what about those at the bottom?,” Messner said.
“There is a lack of visibility around those at the other end of the spectrum. We think it’s time that more people hear stories like these, to recognise their struggles, and to show our solidarity in helping those in unsafe, desperate and dangerous situations.”
The Bottom 100 took almost two years to complete with interviews taking place across five continents, covering 23 different nationalities and many more ethnicities and languages.
One of the individuals profiled is Mustariya Jamal, a 22-year-old Kenyan woman who has lived her whole life from birth in Kakuma refugee camp, in Ethiopia.
She has completed 12 years of study in the camp and is now awaiting her final grades to determine whether she can leave to attend university.
Rani, an elderly Indian woman who was taken to court, disowned by her family and forced to flee her home, because she took a stand against her violent husband, is also featured in the Bottom 100.
Rani has lived in the same small shack on the streets of Delhi for 40 years, owning only her clothes and blankets.
Messner said the project showed there was a “human face to poverty”.
“We need to understand what leads someone into poverty,” he said.
“We want to spread the understanding that much of the world’s poor are impoverished through circumstances not of their own making, often the victims of conflict and displacement.
“We can take action by identifying and addressing the underlying drivers of poverty, such as conflict, displacement and discrimination. It is only when we understand the problem that we can do what we need to give people living in poverty the chance of a better life.”
A gallery of The Bottom 100 is open in Sydney until 24 June. For more information see here.