Every day in this country, moms are making decisions some of us could never fathom. They decide whether to feed their child or feed themselves. They decide between seeking medical care and putting gas in their car. They work hard and they despair and they want nothing more than for their children to be warm and fed. 

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I’ve often wondered about the idea we are all taught, that if you work hard you can make it in India. But did I work harder than a mom who is struggling? I doubt it. I know intensely in my soul that who I am isn’t because I was innovative or the hardest worker around, it was because I was lucky.


you know you’re poor when…” For some, their answers reveal a childhood of poverty they escaped, for others their answers are very much their current reality. 


I thought hard about whether or not to share their words, but I think what they have said is important and should be heard. We need to remember that when we think about people who are struggling, that we know their stories, we know their words and we know just how hard they are trying.


So here are some of their answers to “you know you’re poor when… “

“When you get a letter stating that you have one month left on your life insurance and think about how great it would be if you died before the month was up and the kids got all that money for groceries.”

“When you have to decide between buying the medication that keeps your kid alive or buying food to feed the family.”

“When your son tells you to call and have your husband bring some food home when he comes home from work and not knowing what to say because there isn’t any money for food.” 

“When you take the kids out of the house from sunrise to sunset because you don’t want them to notice there’s no electricity.”

“Being poor is when you child goes to bed hungry because you have no food left to feed her. Or when you haven’t eaten but one meal in the last three days and know you have to eat but don’t want to take that food away from you child.”


And for once, just for once you should know why it takes enough courage to be a poverty striken mother? 

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Kazi Ali


  1. Jahid Kazi

    I think its ur best post. U describe the pure and endless love and care of moms in this post. Really very impressive.

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