At EveryDay Ministry, we want to equip you to teach others about the realities of poverty. We believe that ministry to those in need around the globe often starts by opening the eyes of those closest to us. Through this Poverty Assimilation activity, your group will be able to see what it’s really like for a child who is living in a country with a distant water source.

The goal of this exercise is for participants to see life through a different cultural perspective in hopes that they will respond with empathy and action. 


  • Envelopes
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Water buckets (enough for every participant)

*This is an interactive exercise that requires a large open space. If you can host it in a location with a large pond, that would be ideal. Essentially, you will need long distances for the participants to walk, however, the length is up to your personal discretion.


Before the activity, you will need to prepare an envelope for every participant. There should be three different categories of envelopes. Try to have an equal amount of each category. Label the envelopes by writing one of the three categories on the front. “Open when you are about halfway back with your water,” “Open when you are halfway to the water,” “Open when you are at the water.” Then, print out the scenarios provided for each category, cut them out, and place one in each envelope.


When the activity begins, pass out one envelope to each participant. Then provide each participant with a bucket for water. Tell them to walk around the pond (or allotted long distance), fill the bucket with water, and carry it back to the starting point. When it is time for them to open their envelopes (as noted on the outside of the envelope), open it and follow the instructions. Encourage the participants to do this exercise independently and without talking or joking around with one another.


After the exercise, lead the participants in a time of reflection and discussion. Ask participants to talk about their frustrations and joys through the course of the activity. Take this opportunity to explain to the participants that each of the scenarios provided in their envelopes comes from a real-life situation. Have some action opportunities prepared for the participants and provide them with ways they can get involved in poverty ministry. 

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