Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.
But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself.
Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out.
Aneta and Filip, the children’s parents, are distraught when their children are taken into care. Aneta maintains she is innocent of harming them, while Filip appears bewildered and out of his depth. It’s true the family has never come to the attention of the social services before and little Kit and Molly appear to have been well looked after, but Kit has a broken arm and bruises on his face. Could it be they were a result of a genuine accident as Aneta is claiming?
Both children become sick with a mysterious illness while, experienced foster carer, Cathy, is looking after them. Very worried, she asks for more hospital tests to be done. They’ve already had a lot. When Cathy’s daughter, Lucy, becomes ill too she believes she has found the cause of Kit and Molly’s illness and the parents aren’t to blame. However, nothing could be further from the truth and what comes to light is far more sinister and shocking.