The serious situation of the poor calls for a new approach. The question is whether
the poor can be empowered to alleviate their poverty themselves. In this study focus
groups of inhabitants of informal settlements near Bloemfontein, South Africa, were
interviewed to ascertain what they regard as their main problems and whether they
feel that they can do anything about it. Based on the results it is then suggested that
there is indeed the possibility of hope in a desperate situation, and that new hope
for the poor opens doors for self-empowerment.