Marquee Week 2018: The Poverty Trap

A highlight of this year’s Marquee Week saw Year 8-11 pupils experience a unique opportunity, and gain an insight into a life and world that we are often far removed from in the workshop: The Poverty Trap.

Organisation Empathy Action create and run sessions to raise awareness of global deprivation, and to promote and develop in people a desire to take compassionate action. The Marquee was transformed into a slum for the day with pupils split into families and having to learn to live and survive in this environment. 

To avoid becoming indebted to the slum lord, pupils were forced to work incredibly hard to produce paper bags to sell, the revenue from which, (in most cases not enough) had to pay for their food and rent. It quickly became clear to pupils that the lifestyle and workload was almost impossible to sustain, and that they often had to go without, sell-off prized possessions or even give away family members, just to survive.

A simulation of reality, whilst at first may have appeared ‘fun’ to pupils, after just a short time, began to reveal characteristic pressures and hardship. Pupils embraced the experience in a very mature way, coming away with a new perspective and appreciation for what life is like for those living in a ‘poverty trap’. Empathy Action inspired pupils to consider how we too have a responsibility toward poverty stricken countries and communities.