Here at the Tej Kohli Foundation, we have ambitious plans to expand to areas around the globe in need of support and development, but our initial countries of focus have been India and Costa Rica.
Philanthropic projects are more important to Latin American countries like Costa Rice than ever before – extreme poverty is on the rise again, and actions must be taken to tackle it.
Here, the Tej Kohli Foundation explores this development, and what can be done to reverse it.
Why is Extreme Poverty on the Rise?
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), an agency of the UN, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Latin America is at its highest level in almost a decade. The ECLAC released figures showing that the percentage of people in the region who were living in conditions of extreme poverty had risen from 9.9 per cent in 2016, to 10.2 per cent in 2017 – that’s 62 million people.
Extreme poverty is classified by the agency as living under conditions with no access to the most basic human necessities that many of us take for granted – such as food, shelter and clean water.
The most notable rise occurred in Brazil, where 5.5 per cent of the population currently live in extreme poverty. The ECLAC suggest that Brazil’s volatile political situation, economic deterioration and long period of recession were all factors. But other countries showed similar patterns, including Costa Rica – where the overall poverty rate has been slowly declining, but the extreme poverty rate has seen a rise.
Reversing the Rise of Extreme Poverty
These shocking figures should demonstrate the importance of promoting concerted efforts against poverty and inequality in the region.
In this regards, charity and philanthropy can continue to play a major leading role. The Tej Kohli Foundation has been operating in Costa Rica since the foundation’s very beginnings in 2005. We work to promote better access to clean drinking water, food, medical and educational services, and have provided midday meals to thousands of malnourished children.
While we are extremely proud of our work in this region, the entire philanthropic community must always be looking for ways that we can create a sustained approach that tackles the most systemic issues facing Latin American nations. Whether this is pressure groups lobbying and campaigning against political corruption and economic mismanagement, or large companies considering the impact that their supply chains have on the local area, all organisations can play a part.
Charity, philanthropy, and more systemic actions are not separate – they must form a combined effort that empowers individuals and provides them with the vision to transform their own fortunes and create positive impact and growth. For the Tej Kohli Foundation and our founder Tej Kohli, charity, business and innovation must go hand in hand to tackle the most pressing issues of our times.