Understanding Poverty

Poverty is the most #UNIGNORABLE issue our community is facing today. It’s complex and trying to understand it can be challenging.

United Way of the Alberta Capital region offers a poverty simulation as a learning tool to help increase understanding about the difficulties living in poverty brings on a daily basis.  It works towards bringing a new perspective to how difficult it is to emerge from poverty when the necessary supports aren’t there.   

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The role-play experience, lasts an hour, representing a month, with each 15 minute segment representing a week.  Participants are given a family member role in one of 26 fictional low income families and interact with volunteers acting as agency workers, employers, daycare providers and other business owners to experience the challenges facing people in poverty. Each new week brings its own set of challenges to the participants.

Participants experience homelessness in a poverty simulation

Participants experience homelessness in a poverty simulation

Participant count money available to pay for expenses and bills

Participant count money available to pay for expenses and bills

I found the experience eye-opening and life changing. - Judy

 After the simulation, participants surveyed revealed their understanding of the difficulties in improving one’s situation and become self-sufficient on a limited income rose from 28 per cent to 94 per cent. In addition, the understanding of the difficult choices people need to make each month when stretching a limited income also rose significantly from 32 per cent to a 95 per cent awareness.

Participants discuss their experiences within the poverty simulation

Participants discuss their experiences within the poverty simulation

“I found the experience eye-opening and life changing,” said Judy Batty, “In fact, it’s what prompted me to change my job at United Way to become the Poverty Simulation Program Co-ordinator.” She goes on to say, “I think it’s a great learning opportunity and I’m happy to see a growing interest in the program because it means more people are becoming aware of the obstacles people living in poverty have to overcome each day.”

For more information on participating in a poverty simulation, please contact Judy Batty at 780.443.8384 or email jbatty@myunitedway.ca.

2019 Dates

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019