Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty

Photo of Jaya James

Using the power of community to battle poverty and hunger.


Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity and is the first UN Sustainable Development Goal. Lang management economics and finance grad Jaya James (BComm 01) has lived a life committed to community impact. She has worked in a variety of roles, including a policy advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), where she researched food access opportunities and distribution models across the province. After the international outcry of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, James put her career plans on hold, taking six months off to help mobilize approximately 800 local volunteers who had signed up to offer aid.

“Poverty is a complex issue and will not be fixed overnight, but I truly believe that by working together, much can be accomplished.” 

Combatting poverty and hunger

After realizing there was a much larger need in her community to help battle poverty, James refocused her passions and joined the Lakeside HOPE House as the executive director. In her role, she helps mobilize the community and provide compassionate assistance to those in need, in addition to strategic planning, finance, and budget management.

"At HOPE House, we believe in the power of community to help people achieve their dreams for a better, brighter and more secure future."

HOPE House operates and advocates on the belief that poverty, food insecurity, inequality, health and community are all interconnected. We offer services and programs that challenge the stigmas surrounding poverty and allow our community members to maintain their dignity and choice, while simultaneously providing them with tactile skills developed in a community environment; it is not about a hand-out but rather offering people a hand-up, creating long-term skills that facilitate self-sufficiency.

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