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Empowering Futures: Life Skills Training for Breaking Intergenerational Poverty

Mired in a cycle of diminished opportunities and diminished hope, intergenerational poverty looms large over families and communities for many generations. It has been seen that children who grow up in low-income families are much more likely than other children to be poor when they become adults. As per studies, a focused approach towards honing Life Skills is the single most important factor in stopping the transmission of poverty from parents to children. When children come from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, between their parents, the schools they attend and the communities they live in, they do not have the access and opportunity to learn these life skills. Dealing with day-to-day livelihood-related struggles makes it even more difficult for them to flourish.

Life skills, mostly importantly leadership skills give people—especially children from disadvantaged families—the essential tools they need to free themselves from the bonds of poverty and pave their own path to a better future. Education in life skills offers a wide range of abilities that are essential for negotiating the complexity of modern life. These abilities; which range from communication, problem solving, resilience, and critical thinking to emotional fortitude, form the cornerstone on which individuals can construct a future full of opportunities.

Research suggests that play contributes to the development of children’s academic outcomes as well as essential skills including collaboration, communication, confidence, content, creative innovation and creative thinking. Through play, children can experience and craft a world with its own conditions and values. Children are also able to practice their negotiation skills during play activities. It is during these challenging experiences brought about by play that children have a chance to experiment with, expand and alter their approach to life.

Similarly, music which is often seen as a metaphor for life; with highs and lows has positive impacts in shaping life skills among students. Using the methodology of Play, Music and Building Blocks; the global non-profit organisation Enabling Leadership has been working on an all-encompassing strategy for ending the intergenerational cycle of poverty by addressing the root causes of poverty and giving children the tools they need to break through its barriers.

The development of emotional resilience is another essential life skill, especially for those who are dealing with hardship and difficulty. Children growing up in poverty frequently experience stress, trauma, and uncertainty, which can be detrimental to their mental and emotional health. Life competencies education gives children the tools they need to weather life’s storms and come out stronger.

Furthermore, conversational skills are very important in determining the course of personal and professional life. Good communication involves more than just expressing one’s opinions; it also involves forging meaningful relationships with other people and standing up for oneself. Through activities involving team sports, music, role-playing, public speaking, and collaborative projects; children acquire the confidence and abilities necessary to successfully negotiate social situations and thrive in various aspects of life.

Life skills training can interrupt the intergenerational transmission of poverty. It has the potential to promote greater societal exchange beyond individual empowerment. For instance, when successful people rise from disadvantaged beginnings, they act as role models for their communities, encouraging others to believe in the prospect of a better future and take concrete steps toward realizing it. Leading by example, Enabling Leadership through its programs has orchestrated many success stories where children have risen from marginalised communities to not just lead a satiating professional career but to also empower other children from the community.

To sum up, life skills education works to stop intergenerational poverty and gives people the tools they need to shape a better future for their families, communities, and themselves. We can break the cycle of poverty and establish a world where everyone has the chance to prosper and achieve, regardless of their circumstances or background, by endowing children with essential skills and abilities.

By Pooja Gahrotra (Communications Director)