1 - What are poverty simulations and experiments?
2 - Do they do any good?
The Crisis Assistance Ministry defines a poverty simulation as, "a guided experience that exposes participants to the realities of poverty, including the challenges of navigating the complex world of government services and other essential service providers."
In my experience, "guided" means various levels of involvement and assistance, from a complete how-to guide in major experiments, to being given a general spending guideline in small-scale simulations.
But do they work? I blogged about this for the Pittsburgh Human Rights Network two months ago because, despite critics of poverty simulations, I think they have their place - not as a way to solve the problem of poverty, but as a way for those of us who have more than we need to give up some of our comfort and try to gain some perspective on this problem.
And in my eyes, what a person gains from a poverty simulation depends entirely on what they set out to do for themselves - and since I lived in my garage and took 30-second long cold showers for a week during the simulation I took part in (and some classmates slept in tents), I think I gained some insight that others who, say, sleep in a warm bed do not.
Read my post (here's the link again) and feel free to let me know - do you agree with me? Do poverty simulations have their uses? Or do you think poverty simulations are totally useless?