how we serve

The Ryan & Jamie Smith Essay Contest Question ($5,000 Scholarship):

Do you think it is possible to end extreme poverty in the next 30 years?  If so how?

Winning Essay

A Rationally Irrational Hope

I was once a rational optimist, at least that’s what I call it. The condition climaxed around 3:00 pm on June 25th, 2008. I was boarding a plane bound for Swaziland armed with my copy of Jeffrey Sachs’, “The End of Poverty”, a leather journal full of western development jargon, and a vision of how my grand knowledge would aid in the final rescue of the poor. Some things change, not completely, but they do change. Now I would call myself an irrational optimist. Returning from Swaziland on July 22nd, 2010, dragging my crushed pride and the tattered remnants of development theories, I still had hope, but it was not hope in what we could do for the poor, it was hope in the strength of the poor. Can we, the “developed world”, end extreme poverty in the next 30 years? Not a chance. Could extreme poverty end in the next 30 years? With a hope in the incalculable strength of the destitute, yes I believe it could.

With the recent phenomenon of globalization the question of ending poverty morphed into how we can achieve success. If we cancel debts, build economies, cure diseases, educate the children, stop the wars and end corruption, it can be done. Scholars establish ingenious plans that are beautiful on paper, inflaming our imaginations at the possible depth and breadth of their... [ read entire winning essay ]

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Honorable Mention


The power of education

Ending Extreme Poverty Through Teaching Self Sustenance

Disrupting the Pervasive Cycle of Poverty: How Do They Do It?

Reducing extreme poverty in the next thirty years

The Challenge

We Can If We Will