Every attitude, every gesture has to fight poverty and exclusion. There are many ways to act, regardless of our skills and availability. These messages, these testimonials reflect. Feel free to contribute.

Testimonies are published under the responsibility of the author. They are subject to validation: these will be published only if they comply, in form and substance the spirit of this day as defined in the International Charter for October 17.

 

Testimonies
Nigeria

The pandemic made things worse

In Nigeria, the Pandemic has overturned the little gains achieved.  We reverted from “teaching a man to fish” to “giving a man fish”. With the long months of lockdown, the number of the extreme poor and vulnerable increased.  With Nigeria being number one in the global poverty index, the pandemic made things worse.

Poverty and Gender-based violence proved a big challenge  The pandemic saw an astronomical rise in violence against women and girls, Thus an association was formed  “Association Against Child and Gender Based Violence”  (AACSGBV).

The Association stands against all forms of child sexual and gender-based violence.

 We had a Conference and the Association formally launched at Abuja, the Nigerian Capital yesterday, 15th October, 2020.  My Paper was on the October 17 Theme:  Acting Together to Achieve Social and Environmental Justice for All”, and the title of the Paper “Social and Environmental Justice for Poverty Eradication “.

Much talk was centred on October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

30/10/2020
Josephine
Thailand

Poverty means having the ability but lacking the opportunity

I am from the province, my parents are poor rice farmers. We experienced obstacles. As our income was low, our parents could not afford to send us to secondary school and these things prevented us to go where we wanted to go. For me what defines poverty is having the ability but lacking the opportunity.

When I finished primary school I moved to Bangkok, to look for a job, knowledge and experience. I had a goal in life and wanted to have what the others have : I want to have an education, I want to have opportunities. I did everything to get money in order to go to school. If I was hired to wash the dishes, to cook food, I would take the job, so that I could access education like other people and improve my life. I would attend class and then I would go to work in the evening. I learned from the jobs, from the experiences and it allowed me to progress. I looked for ways and I started to train myself in sales. For this you need to set a goal, have a service mind, want the consumers to get quality products, be sincere with them, give them quality service. You must know your customers, know what they want, in what season you can provide which products, and in so doing you will reach your goal to know your customers.

Today, I don’t have much income and there is hardship for me still, but I want a better life for my children, I want them to be able to have education like others, good jobs, and live well.

My message to people in poverty is don’t think that you are underprivileged but try to find a way to break through from that state and show others what you can do.

30/11/2018
Khun N.
United States

Youth Testimony from Ireland, Oct17, Clincho, Appalachia, VA, USA

Commemoration

International Day

for the Eradication of Poverty

October 17, 2018 - Clincho VA

Community Contribution from a group of young adults, Dublin, Ireland

We are 20 young men and women from Dublin who worked together to write this message for October 17. Most of us know very well what it means living on a very low income, and some of us have slept in the street. We know what it is to be put down.

To leave no one behind, we first have to put the homeless on a bigger agenda. They live extreme poverty and are isolated, especially the very young. It's easy to turn to drugs when you're homeless, because you give up.

Jackie said : “Leaving no one behind means bringing back a homeless person to my home, like some one from my family. I could lose my flat for taking this risk. But I do it because I was homeless.”

Teresa said: “Now I have my flat, but I would not walk past a homeless person. If you're my friend when I'm on the street, you're still my friend when I'm not.”

Around town we see homeless people, young and old. Why can't all the empty buildings be used to offer them proper homes?

What can we do to leave no one behind? We are born equal and in innocence, but our paths in life are not equal.

One father said, “I was left behind at school years ago. The class teacher hit me and I reacted. I told the teacher what I thought of him. I was then thrown out. I was just 13 and school was finished for me. There were no more chances to learn. I stopped going to school. No one ever came to my house to ask why?. Yes, I was left behind.” It is life-long access to education that gives people another chance.

Our communities can offer the chance not to be left behind,  we have to understand each other, to take time to walk in each other's shoes Let's not turn our backs on those who face hardship and isolation, on those who get a prison sentence.

An answer lies in friendship and in the people you get to know in your community; keeping contact and talking with each other; and being a good neighbour is very important.  All this gives you the understanding of belonging somewhere.  And we never should, put anyone down. Everyone should have their chance to make their mark in their community.

We need to have a sense of humour as well, that we share with others. It is part of being together. Today we want to remember all those who have died in misery, especially those who died during the past year. Their lives were too hard. Sometimes our lives are the same.

Even if our problems take us to hell and back, we still have feelings and we have the right to live with respect.

Our humanity can never be taken away from us.

30/10/2018
Isabelle Williams
Tanzania

Testimony of Ashura, October 17 2018, Tanzania

Asalam aley kum (Peace be with you). I would like to thank God for inviting me here today.

My name is Ashura Onesmo, I am a mother of five children, I am a breaker of stones to in the  quarry of "Cambodia" near to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The source of my poverty is the family conflict between my father and my mother. My mother was doing small income generating activities. I managed to study until the seventh grade of primary school. I did not manage to go to high school. I think that if I had a good education, I would have a good job and could fight against poverty.

For us women here, the way to fight against poverty is to break the stones. It is a job that requires no investment other than our own strength. However, breaking stones is hard work and very dangerous, but we do it because we have no alternative.

I usually get up at four in the morning, prepare some juices which I can sell, and prepare lunch for my family. After I go to work at the quarry. I arrive there at 6am and immediately start breaking stones. I stop at around 3pm and start measuring the piles of broken stones (so as to fill the buckets). During a day, I can fill 7 to 20 buckets, I can earn between 2000 to 5000 TSH per day. This is not enough for the needs of the family, but we continue to fight. We do not despair because we hope that someday things will change.

The work of breaking stones is a job that can be done by everyone because we do not need any capital, except the contribution our own physical strength, but it is risky work, including the risk of tuberculosis because of the dust, working under the sun all day, and not having a good diet. For us women, lifting and carrying large stones to break can have consequences, such as abortions.

The problems of poverty are numerous. Our children are with us every day at the quarry and grow up there. They start breaking stones themselves at a young age, and some get used to earning a little money. This means that some young people do not like school because they prefer to make money.

I conclude by thanking ATD for visiting our us in our work and giving us the opportunity to participate in research on poverty indicators. We benefited greatly because we now have a broader understanding about poverty.

Women in work - thank you very much. May God continue to bless you.

Ashura

29/10/2018
Ashura
United States

Collective Testimony from New Orleans, October 17, 2018

Together  let’s  build  a  world  of  respect  for  everyone’s  human rights  and  dignity!                  

What  does  it  mean  to  build  a  world  of  respect  for  everyone’s human  rights  and  dignity?  

Families  living  in  extreme  poverty  in  New  Orleans   tell  us  so much  about  what  it  looks  like  when they  don’t  feel  respected  as a human  being  because  they  are  born  extremely  poor.  

Ms. Pat  said,  “It  looks  like  your  poverty  follows  you  all  the  way around  for  your  entire  life  and  it’s   hard!  It’s  hard  on  everything:  housing,   food,  transportation.  It   feels  as  if  you  are  going nowhere.   We   can’t   wait   on   the   system   to   support   our   people; we   do   it   ourselves  with   the   little   we   have.   Look!   Linda  was   homeless   with   her   three   children.   I   cannot   let   her   and   her   children   be   on   the   streets.  I  have  to  let  her  in until  she  finds  a  place.  But  after  one  month,  it’s  a  lot  for  me  to feed  the   entire  family.  I  am  poor  myself!  It’s  hard  to  tell  her  to leave  knowing  that  she  does  not  have  a  place   to  go.  But  it’s like that  with  our  people.”

Ms. Charlene  dreams  to  own  a  house,  said,  “When  I  went  to  the housing  agency  they  asked  me,   ‘What  is  your  dream?’  I  told them  ‘My  dream  is  to  get  my  own  house  so  that  I  don’t  need  to move   from  one  place  to  another  and  that  one  day  my  children will  not  be  on  the  streets.’  But  I  can  never   save  any  money  to get  to  50%  of  the  cost.  There  is  always  something  coming  up!  I have  to  get  my   children   out   of   jail,   or   someone   is   sick   and  needs  money.   Sometimes   I   feel   like   I  make   one   step   forward and  then  go  ten  steps  backwards.”

Chantelle  added,  “I  work  hard  but  don’t  get  a  good  pay,  even with  two  jobs.  They are  run  by  the   third  parties,  so  I  don’t  have someone  directly  to    talk  to  about  employment opportunities.  You are   always   on   contract   for   six   months   and   they   keep   cutting  down  your   hours. They   hire   migrants  because  they  don’t have  to  pay  any  charges. It  would  be  great  if  they  could  at  least give  us  $15  an   hour.  You  cannot  move  one  step  forward  with $8.50  per  hour.  You  can  only  think  about  the  future   with  your family,  but  can’t  actually  realize  it.”  

J.D.  added,  “Police  arrest  us  for  little  things.  Once  you  are  in the system,  you  are  trapped  in  it.  You   cannot  get  a  house,  and  you cannot  get  a  job.  For  your  entire  life  you  are  trapped  in!  You  are left   behind  because  all  the  curses  are  on  you.  I  am  happy  to learn  that  the City  council  voted  to  “ban   the  box”  and provide decent  living  wages.  That  will  change  something  in  our  lives.”  

No  one   should  be  left behind!  Today,  we  pay   tribute   to  your courage,   to  your   strength,   to  your   perseverance,   to   your   resistance   to   stand   up   every   day   and   face   the   reality   of   your   lives. You deserve  respect  and  dignity  as  any  other human being.

26/10/2018
Marie Victoire