Horoscope of Poverty
Goal 1: No Poverty
15 – 21 years old
Groups of up to 28
- To use available resources responsibly
- To place value own resources and the value of sharing
- To recognise real needs in combatting poverty
- To engage in actions to combat poverty
- To reflect upon the concept of poverty and consequences of poverty globally
- To recognize the mutual benefits of sharing and the value of own resources
- To reflect upon the difference between charity and capacity building
Lifelong learning key competences
- 12 Horoscope cards (see printouts)
- 12 Life cards (see printouts)
- One sheet of paper and a pencil for each participant
- Large sheet of paper or flipchart or board
- Markers or chalk
- Copy the Horoscope and Life cards and cut them out.
- Make up three sets of cards so there are four life cards with their corresponding horoscope cards in each set. Put each set in a separate envelope so that they don’t get muddled up.
Introduce the activity. Talk briefly about horoscopes in general. Do the students ever read them? Do they believe them? What sorts of information do they usually give?
Divide the students into small groups of 3-4 students and give each one a set of Life cards together with the corresponding Horoscope cards.
Give the groups fifteen minutes to write fantasy horoscopes for the three lives on their cards. They should use their imagination, intuition and general knowledge to foretell what will happen to the people in the coming year. Stress that there are no right or wrong answers, but that they should try to make the predictions within the scope of reality.
When they have finished, call the students into plenary. In turn, ask each group to present their work. They should first read out the information on the life cards so everyone is introduced to the different characters, and then they should read out the horoscopes.
Finally tape the life cards and the predictions onto the large sheet of paper to make a wall chart.
- Start the discussion by asking each group to explain how they decided the futures of each of their characters. Then go on to try to define poverty and finally move on to discuss the consequences of poverty.
- What do participants understand by the term poverty?
- Might someone be regarded as ‘rich’ if they lived in one country and ‘poor’ if they lived in another? In other words, is poverty relative?
- What images do participants have of people who are poor? In their own country and in developing countries? Are these stereotypes? How well-founded are the images? Where do people get their information from?
- How easy is it for people who are poor to break the circle of poverty? In other words, how hard is it for someone born into a poor family not to be poor as an adult?
- What kinds of opportunities do people have when they are rich?
- What kinds of opportunities do people have when they are poor?
- Is it people’s own fault that they are poor? Is it their fate? Is it because of social, political and economic forces?
- Poverty often goes hand in hand with poor health, hunger and malnutrition, lack of education, poor work skills and unemployment. Is it a coincidence or are they connected? If so, what are the connections?
- What can individuals, groups, local communities and nations do to close the gap?
Suggestions and Alternatives to the Method
Make it clear to the students that this is a fantasy horoscope and that it is not necessary to be an astrologer or know anything about the characteristics traditionally attributed to the signs of the zodiac. Rather, they should focus on the details given in the life stories on the cards and use their own general knowledge and knowledge of history, economics and sociology. The “love” item in the horoscope cards should be taken to refer not only to the love life of the individual, but also their relationships with family and friends.
Instead of group work, the students can work independently. E.g. by making a written assignment where students write a horoscope and reflect on poverty in relation to the life story and in general.
Follow up suggestions
Essay on one of the following questions:
- To what extent is education a key to reducing poverty in your country?
- In almost every country of the world, the gap between rich and poor is increasing. The gap is also increasing between countries. What are the consequences of this in Europe?
- What sort of social policies lead to the best opportunities for life for all citizens?