Poverty Simulation: February 20, 2013
What is the Poverty Simulation?
The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants better understand aspects of survival of persons living in a typical low-income family. It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people. In the simulation, up to 88 participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty.
The experience lasts up to three hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise and a debriefing period in which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences, and talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty.
Persons recruited as volunteer staffers are asked to think about the role they might like to fill. Volunteers may have had personal experiences that enable them to be especially effective in portraying a given role. Realistic portrayals contribute greatly to the success of the experience.
At the end of the simulation, volunteers will be asked to comment on the simulation experience. This could include:
- A summary of how the participants reacted to the volunteer’s role
- Comments about the participants’ ability to cope in the state of poverty during the simulation
- Previous experiences or special information or facts that the volunteer may have that could reinforce the realities of living in poverty
- How it feels for the volunteer to be “on the other side of the table” during the simulation
- Whether a change of participant attitude was noticed during the simulation