World Day Toolkit
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Ideas for action on October 17th

Organise or participate in events to promote the participation of people experiencing poverty, and those who join them in efforts to tackle poverty

On the first October 17 in 1987 Joseph Wresinski revealed not only the suffering, but the courage, efforts, and aspiration of people living in extreme poverty around the world. The words engraved on the Trocadero commemorative stone are often repeated in October 17 celebrations.

October 17th is a day when people in poverty testify to their efforts and those of others in resisting poverty and exclusion. Such testimonies and messages hold a place at the heart of gatherings on the World Day and are a valuable record of the lives and efforts of people in poverty.

October 17 commemorations have taken many different forms throughout the world. Often events take place in the community and close to places of significance for people in poverty.

On the international level the day is growing in its reach. The international coalition Global Call Against Poverty also holds October 17th as a major day of mobilisation against poverty. For more information and ideas from their toolkit visit www.whiteband.org.

Concerts and cultural events

People in poverty have often spoken only through the songs of their struggles, pains, and resistance. Thousands of choirs and choral groups around the world have taken up the challenge to organize special concerts, or to participate in World Day commemorations with a special repertoire of the songs of people in poverty. From Chad to Peru, from Luxembourg to Manila, people have garnered their artistic talents into art exhibits, theater pieces, and dance performances evoking the history of the struggle against poverty.

Write or record a testimony or message

If you have experienced (or know someone who is experiencing) the injustices of poverty and exclusion, write about it so that others can understand and join forces. These messages can be shared on the international day. Send your testimonies and messages here

Communication around the world...

"It helps to know we are not alone," many people in poverty have said during the events on October 17. Whether people gather by the thousands, or only a few to commemorate the World Day, they are all part of a movement that breaks the isolation of the poorest and most excluded. People have used different means to make those links real: from international radio communication between countries to simple conference calls, to exchanges of post cards, fax or e-mail.

Silence and spiritual observance

For some October 17th is an important time of reflection and silence. Whether with a traditional service in a Rwandan village, meditation in a temple in Thailand, prayers in an Algerian mosque, an Israeli temple, or Notre Dame of Paris, or in interfaith gatherings, people of many faiths and traditions have commemorated the World Day in the manner of their choice.

You may wish to organise such a moment, or call on your religious leaders to encourage them to promote a time of reflection on the lives and efforts of people living in extreme poverty. You may wish to use Joseph Wresinski’s Universal Prayer written for October 17, 1987.