Our common point is our commitment
Refuser la misère

For years now we have been sharing our commitments and our ways of acting for a world without extreme poverty: in these days of world pandemic, we need to feel connected to share our worries, but above all to exchange our strengths, our ideas, our ways of being there for those people who are more at risk than others because they already live in utter destitution. Faced with such a situation, we may feel that our power to act has become insignificant.

We are thinking of those in fragile health or without access to good health care. We are thinking of all those children who are eager to learn and whose schools are closed. We are thinking about people who have nowhere to go but the street, or those separated from their families: prisoners, children in foster care and parents who cannot see them. Also, in our thoughts are people who had to leave their country and who struggle to find a welcoming new home. In many towns and cities throughout the world, lockdown measures have been decided. All those people who earn a living day after day can no longer have access to their means of subsistence. There is a fear that the health crisis is also becoming a hunger crisis. How is it possible not to oppose the  measures to stop the progress of the virus and the vital needs, the needs for solidarity?

Yet many people — families and whole communities — have faced calamities like this before: epidemics, wars, hunger, natural disasters and the daily grind and crisis of poverty. We can learn from the experience of all these friends — from Port-au-Prince to Nueva Suyapa, Bangui to New Orleans — who have always found creative ways to come together and demonstrated acts of solidarity.

This strength shown by those people or communities who live in extreme poverty, their experience you are witnessing, give us hope.
And we see people helping each other, stopping the disease in as much as they can, remaining close to the people who live in poverty, to be there in the worst of times. The youths especially want to take action and  they show courage and ingenuity, just like the young leaders we know in Bangui, in the Central African Republic. In the DR of Congo, in Bukavu, other youths are looking for those in the community who are worst of and must be supported.
We are indeed mobilized by the will not to leave anyone behind during this time of emergency, but also to  already call for associating the poorest people and families in the construction after the crisis. The future needs everyone’s talents. Let us remain connected and attentive.

Isabelle Pypaert-Perrin
Director General of the International Movement ATD Fourth World

To read the entire Letter to Friends, you can download it here under.