These firsthand testimonies give us a glimpse of the consequences of the economic crisis on populations in extreme poverty, their efforts to cope with it, and their hope that " this crisis will be an opportunity for a worldwide awareness that could benefit the most disadvantaged people."
"Unemployment is spreading across the country like an oil stain, polluting social relations. For their survival, people are accepting any job they can find regardless of the conditions and often to the detriment of their own safety. (…) The situation where we live is not so different from the situation where you are. While the disease of unemployment is striking the whole world (families without at least one unemployed member are rare), the temperature of the fever is higher and a fatal outcome more frequent in poor countries. In the South Andes of Peru, alternative, sustainable, solidarity-based development initiatives are springing up. Facilitated by young farmers, supported by some foreign ressources, these production and commercialization groups implement, promote, and perfect the solidarity-based experiences of the Andean Quechua communities, which are rooted in respect for their Mother Earth. Their experience is not only a solution to the problem of hunger in the Andes, but also puts forth an alternative to the current economic model. The crisis issues a challenge to our imagination and our solidarity." Francisco FRITSCH
"The current economic crisis has worsened the situation of poor people in Belo Horizonte. There are currently 1086 families living in the Dandara Camp on land that belongs to the municipality. They have traveled all over the periphery of the capital of the Minas Gerais state in the hope of finding a roof and a better life. They run the risk of being evicted and are under the threat of their water supply being cut off…" Joviano Gabriel Maia Meyer
From Ivory Coast:
"We want to ensure that our region will not lack food in the future. So, little by little, our harvest is redistributed to farmers who have the greatest need for rice seeds, to get the mountainous western region of Ivory Coast going again. It’s an objective that it will take time to reach because we are alone, but we will keep the path of hope alive for the women in our cooperative. Mrs. Madeleine Gblia, President of the "Grâce des Femmes" Cooperative.
From the Central African Republic:
"We use the knowledge and experience of those who came before us: the farmer’s patience, that is what’s at the heart of our project. Faced with a world food crisis, our project this past year has been to develop and help family-run businesses. Our farm-school began in that spirit with 25 young farmers… Even here we are aware of the enormous difficulties that the entire so-called developed world is faced with. Above all, we think that the countless victims of this economic and financial collapse are even more affected than the very poor populations in our regions who had only barely benefited from what we call progress. We do hope that this crisis will be an opportunity for a worldwide awareness that could benefit the most disadvantaged people. Brother Christophe MORGAT, Associated Christian Schools of Bossangoa
What about you? We’re eager to hear your reactions, observations, and input. The following questions may be helpful:
1) What are the visible consequences of the crisis on disadvantaged people? (For example: negative consequences within families, repercussions on children’s schooling, on health, on employment, etc.)
What are the consequences on actions undertaken by your association, and in what area? (For example: health, nutrition, etc.)
2) What reactions has the crisis given rise to? What long-term activities have been stopped? (For example, raising awareness, registering civil status like births, etc.)
What examples of increased solidarity have been seen? What examples of innovating other ways of living (and sometimes surviving) have been seen?