July 21, 2016
Shared culture a help in coping with poverty
One of the authors of a new study on growing up in poverty says it highlighted the value of cultural connections in coping with material deprivation.
Dr Terry Fleming, the chair of the University of Auckland’s Adolescent Health Research Group, says analysis of data from 8500 secondary school students who took part in the Youth 2012 study showed strong differences between groups, with one in three Maori adolescents living in poverty.
Mostly that was indicated by housing stress, insufficient food, and not having things like computers and internet access at home, which are now vital for study.
She says whanaungatanga makes a difference.
"You can compensate a little bit by strong whanau connections, by belonging within your community, by all the whakapapa identity kind of stuff, so we need to be addressing those structural issues, poverty and so on, but also cultural belonging and connectedness can help mitigate some of the downsides of all that," Dr Fleming says.
She says strategies to address poverty need to address whole communities, rather than offering an out to a selected few through things like scholarships.
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