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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..

James 1:27 (New International Version) - 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 (The Message) - 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.


  • In the UK we spend £30 billion a year - that’s around £500 per person.
  • 850 million people around the world earn less than a living wage – which means they cannot afford to feed their family, send their children to school, or have access to safe water and sanitation.
  • Half the world - nearly three billion people - live on less than two dollars a day
  • 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 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people combined.
  • A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people
  • The lives of 1.7 million children were needlessly lost this year [2000] because world governments have failed to reduce poverty levels (Oxfam)
  • According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  • Over 100 million children around the globe are out of school

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

Get a jumbo mars bar (or similar). Have 4-5 volunteers come up to the front of the room. Say 'this is a jumbo mars bar'. All these 4-5 people have had a hand in the creation and development of this mars bar. The mars bar represents a pair of trainers. Let's see who gets what...

Divide the mars bar by cutting it pre-assembly, to the measurements / spec of this represented below. The workers only get around 0.5% of a product's value.. On this image, the small green area represents the worker's wage..


NB. The source for this can be found on this tearfund page - though unless my maths is worse than I think it is, the totals add up to a greater amount than 100% so I've taken one or two creative liberties with the image above.


We have to be careful not just to give people aid, otherwise they begin to depend on it. Story of a Christian Aid worker who went to do some work in a country. When they were there serving as a doctor, they were 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

Can you get someone in from Tearfund / local Christian who has 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 Aid, Tearfund etc.

What can you do?

  • Buy a Make Poverty History wristband - hold one up - link to retailers selling them
  • to encourage a campaign to enable 100 million kids to school globally
  • Go to Make Poverty and email Tony Blair. You can use the standard message or add your own message. (You could do a screen capture of the web page, or log on to this page 'live' using a school's broadband connection, if available) and demonstrate sending the email. Obviously you'll need a laptop and projector too).
  • You can write a letter to your local MP
  • 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 stuff - chocolate, coffee, bananas, tea etc. All are available from Co-op or some items from Sainsburys. 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. Turn lights off at home, turn the TV off standby. Finish your food!
  • 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!

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