Poor living conditions

Poor living conditions and success

What are the chances of success if you live in a poverty-stricken community? We hear people talk about their place of residence being the main reason they fail at school, work or as parents. Is being poor a viable reason for aggressive behaviour, a disrespectful attitude, bad grades, unemployment, or criminal actions? Some people say yes while others argue that success stories are proof that poverty is not an excuse for failure.

Poor people’s success stories

We hear numerous success stories about people achieving their goals despite poor conditions and wonder what have these people done differently that the majority of poor people are not doing? According to Bono, singer-songwriter and philanthropist, “Where you live should not determine whether you live or whether you die.”

However, reporter Dylan Kerrigan (source) states, “People can come forward with their examples of individual success stories but it doesn’t change the fact that while some individuals break the cycle, the group ‘poor’ on the whole cannot break the cycle and capitalism is designed to function in that precise way.”

The Stolen Cascadura

The element of choice

One reason people disagree with the belief that poor conditions affect success is the element of choice. In criminology, rational choice theory adopts a utilitarian belief that humans are reasoning actors who weigh means and ends, costs and benefits, in order to make a rational choice. This method was designed by Cornish and Clarke to assist in thinking about situational crime prevention. (source)

Choosing the road less taken

There are persons who say that their poor conditions caused them to fail in life and there are those who choose to take the road less taken. Here are success stories of persons in Trinidad and Tobago who made a difference for themselves, families, communities, schools and country:

Dwight Yorke rises to a successful footballer

The wealthy footballer Dwight Yorke grew up in Canaan, Tobago in a small home with eight siblings. At age six, his passion for football developed with Bertille St Clair Coaching School. He states, “I had no shoes but my skills developed at the coaching school, playing on the beach and in the streets.” (source)

Yorke failed his secondary school exam but thanks to his football skills, he was offered a scholarship to attend Scarborough Secondary School. He played for the Trinidad & Tobago National team, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney and Sunderland.

Camilita Nuttall from dump to owning businesses

Camilita Nuttall grew up in Beetham Estate with 10 older siblings and unemployed parents who could not afford to send her to secondary school. She went through the garbage in the nearby dump looking for glass bottles to sell to buy school uniform and supplies so she could attend secondary school.

She studied hard enough to gain entry to law school and moved to the UK, where she launched two businesses in network marketing, built a property portfolio and started her public speaking career (source: Forbes). Nuttall is the CEO of the Event of Champions, she is a UK-based motivational speaker, sales trainer and mentor/investor.

Dianna Sophia Lopez changes school image

Dianna Sophia Lopez from Enterprise prepared for her A-Level exams at the Chaguanas North Secondary School in the midst of unruly and disrespectful behaviour by students who were planning a gun attack. The police got involved, the school made news headlines and got a bad reputation.

Despite residing in a community with gang warfare and dealing with drama at school, Lopez placed second in the Lucille S Antoine Leadership Scholarship and the school was credited for placing second in the RBC’s Judges Award for outstanding service to the community. “I took a gamble by writing an essay about myself and my leadership qualities. I was surprised when I found out that I was the recipient of a financial scholarship,” she said. (source)

Kevelle Cooper earns a national scholarship

Kevelle Cooper from Chaguanas was a teenager when she worked as a cashier in a supermarket after school to assist at home while she was in sixth form at St Augustine Girls’ High School. “My family did not have a lot of money and still I never compared my journey to any of my peers. I knew my journey was different and I knew I had to work hard and find a way out to help my family, and this way out was through education. My mother is a strong praying woman and she would always say that things would get better one day.”

Kevelle obtained eight distinctions in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and six distinctions and two ones in Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). She was awarded an additional scholarship in business. (source)

October 2019 www.sweettntmagazine.com

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