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Cracow - Monday 17 October 2011 - European Convention - 17 and 18 october
The Convention, to be organised on 17-18 October in Cracow, will review the progress made towards the headline target of reducing poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020 and the implementation of the European Platform against Poverty. It will also debate suggestions for future actions.
Bethlehem - Sunday 16 October 2011 - The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in the Ghirass Center
Since 2005, I have participated at some events of the International Days for Eradication of Poverty in very different places.
In 2011, I was invited by Wafa, a friend of the Movement ATD Fourth World, to come to Dheisheh which is a refugee camp for Palestinian refugees in Bethlehem, in the West Bank area. Wafa lives in this camp with her husband and their 3 sons. I am very fond of Wafa, she has a lot of consideration for others and always makes a big effort to make sure that every person keeps his dignity. She created an association called ASEELA, to help Palestinian women to be confident in themselves and to help them find a job.
On the occasion of October 17th, Wafa and her friend Aysheh had organized a meeting in the GHIRASS Center which welcomes children and adults from the Bethlehem District as well as those from the nearby UNRWA refugees camps. They organize workshops, courses, and trips with the intention of encouraging them to keep their hope high as well as to offer a place where they could meet and play together.
Wafa and Aysheh offered the children to write something about their daily life.
When we arrive in the center, we have first a cup of cardamom-flavored coffee with the leaders of the center. Then we sit with the children between the ages of 7 and 14. Everyone speaks Arabic, I watch what is happening as I don’t understand this language. The children listen attentively to each other and applaud. Sometimes there is whispering, laughing and lots of curiosity, especially when Wafa talks about the families in the book called “Smiles of the World”.
Four of the children read their story and they allow me to record them. For me, this is a real gift because I can later ask someone to translate their story for me.
From their stories, I feel a deep sense of injustice because of the prison-like conditions in which these people are living.
I was also touched by the courage of one teenager who had to quit school after his father was killed and his home was torn down to make way for the construction of a road.
« Salem leaves the house early in the morning to work. Sometimes, he works in a car garage. Sometimes he works as a driver of a wheel-barrow. He works in any job people offer to him. All this in order to earn money for his mother, brothers and sisters for their daily life. Despite all the tiredness, Salem still has a hope that tomorrow will be better with the rising of the sun and all the rights will return to them. »
I remember also the mother who sweeps the streets to make money to feed her two sons. Her children have to wash themselves at the tap outside of their house because they don’t have enough space in their home. The other children nearby laugh at them and the girl telling the story says: « I ask everyone to help and support them and not to make fun of them and to speak to them politely. I also hope that the people to be sensitive to them and feel their pain.»
And finally, I feel very proud to have been a part of this International Day for Eradication of Poverty” together with these children and my Palestinian friends.
On the occasion of October 17th, Wafa and her friend Aysheh had organized a meeting in the GHIRASS center.
Lauoka - Monday 17 October 2011 - Rural Communities receive university recognition in Community Development
A total of 145 women, men and youths from six communities in Ba and Lautoka areas will be graduating with Certificates in Community Development from USP Lautoka Campus on 17th October, 2012.The graduates are participants of Social and Economic Empowerment Training (SEET) held in communities over the period of six months, facilitated by FRIEND.
Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development developed a training manual called Social and Economic Empowerment Training Guide for Pacific Communities which was launched jointly by the University of the South Pacific Lautoka Campus and FRIEND in March 2010.
Since then FRIEND has been using the training guide to train participants in a number of communities. USP Lautoka campus joined FRIEND not only to launch the training guide but also to evaluate the program and assess the work done in the communities.
As part of this training, community members have set up back yard gardens, income generation programs, composts and disaster management committees as they learnt about active citizenship, good governance, financial literacy, starting up income generation programs, healthy living and backyard gardens as well as disaster management. The communities participating in Governance Training this year include Ba Seniors, Natalecake, Vakabuli Indian/Paipai, Vakabuli Fijian, Qalitu and Neimasi/Bila.
The new batch of 145 graduates add to the list of 144 participants who have already received their certificates since the start of this course in March 2010.
USP Lautoka Campus has made a commitment to evaluate the social and economic empowerment programs in the communities for FRIEND for the first three years. This involves visits to communities that are benefitting from the training, observing changes after training and conducting research to determine the impact of training on the individual participants, their families and communities, and awarding them with certificates.
The graduation ceremony will be held at the Sugar Cane Growers Council Hall in Lautoka from 9am on 17th October, 2012. The event will also mark the International Day for Eradication of Poverty
Kisanga - Monday 17 October 2011 - A community workshop on October 17th, 2011
This year we celebrate the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty not only through this small gathering with testimonies, poems, dramas, etc. We also celebrate it through action, organising a community workshop in which some of you already participated yesterday and today. What is a community workshop?
A community workshop means a day in which all the members of the community are invited to participate: all the members means not only the most dynamic and the most skilled, all the members means also those usually excluded, the handicapped people, who are not recognised by the community as being part of it... This is not easy to do... Sometimes when a community project starts, the poorest people don't come, don't participate. They are probably the most concerned, but they think, “I don't have any idea to give, the others are going to make fun of me, to criticise me”. One day a father told one of us, “I'm never associated to this kind of work. Nobody comes up to my home in order to ask me for my help. That is why I don't participate”.
All of us are very different, some are strong and others are weaker, some are good at doing manual work and others at telling stories... But we are equal in the face of human rights which have to be respected for everybody. We are equal in dignity, because we are women and men, whatever our abilities and skills are, even for those of us who have been damaged by a hard life.
Whatever we are doing, does it allow the community to recognise the equal dignity of the poorest of its members?
In some cases, a community workshop is organised to bring a benefit to all the members of the community. However, many people accept to mobilise themselves in order to support, for example their neighbours who are in great difficulties. “It is normal to give priority to the poorest. We did it when the wall of our neighbours' house collapsed after very big rains. We asked friends, people living in the same area and we shared the work with the spirit to help one another. The wall was very quickly rebuilt and everybody was very happy, both the people living inthe house and all the participants in the rebuilding.
To know more, click on the attached file
This year we celebrate the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty not only through this small gathering with testimonies, poems, dramas, etc. We also celebrate it through action, organising a community workshop in the village of Kisanga. It is a village close to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Manila - Sunday 16 October 2011 - A ceremony and a walking exhibit
Also a national day in the Philippines, October 17 will be celebrated in the Rizal Park in Manila. It is organized together with the National Anti Poverty Commission (NAPC).
This year, from 8am-11am a ceremony will be held next to the Commemorative stone. The program will include testimonies of commitments from persons having the experience of poverty as well as other members of the society. Messages will be given by Government officials.
After the ceremony, at 11am, a walking exhibit aiming to present the commitments of different members of the society, including persons who experience extreme poverty in their daily lives will be presented in the Rizal Park.