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
United Kingdom

I now feel that my life is getting back on track.

16 October 2016

Leading up to 2013 my life was starting to take a down hill spiral.

I had an event that changed my whole life, and the way I see things. Due to it I ended up in psychiatric hospital in roughly December 2013.

The unit I ended up in was full of people with various mental health issues. The staff in there varied, and the way you were treated, depended on which staff members were on duty. Some of the staff in there showed compassion where others treated you like dirt.

I also felt very excluded from the outside world as if we were hidden from them because we were different. An example of this was when we were allowed out, we had to wear our lanyards around our neck as to show we were different. I felt I had to wear it as humiliation that I was not well, often people would see it and avoid walking by us thinking we might attack them.

Freedom in this place was taken in away as we were told when or where we could smoke and how often we were allowed to smoke. I was lucky that this never happened to me but to other patients. They would have feelings of utter shame but also felt humiliated by it especially when someone would have to be tackled by staff for not working with them.

In this place you felt as if your self esteem was lost because when your ill you lose a sense of who you are. Confidence was often knocked by staff and patients due to who you are and the way you came across. If you did not agree or like each other it often led to fights. Like I mentioned earlier about depending on who was on shift depended on the care you were given. Some people actually care where some others were working just to get a pay check at the end of the day.

A big part of life changed was when I was finally discharged from this Unit. I felt at this point that I was being allowed to rejoin society. When I moved on from this place initially, I was not given a home of my own, but put into a lot of different travel lodge hotels over the course of a year. I did not feel that this helped me to reintegrate with society. I did not have a door to call my own and was living out of a suitcase. All this moving about, I feel also made it harder for me to rebuild links with my family.

Now I have been given a place I can all home , even though it is not a permanent tenancy. I feel that I am on the mend, even though I have support workers and medication to keep taking, I also still see the doctor.

One of the things that have helped my recovery since leaving the unit is that I now have the ability to own a dog, who is more than just a pet . He is my constant companion and better than any therapy that can be given by the doctors.

Thanks to my friends, family and cuddles (my dog) I now feel that my life is getting back on track, and with any luck things can only get better.

Obviously I still have my bad days, but cuddles is there to help and also knowing I can lean on my Dad helps too.

Thank you for listening.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
18/10/2016
Ruth
Tanzania

If you hear about such an opportunity, don't hesitate to learn

I'm a mother of 5 children. I'm working at Fish Market, at the area called « the Lebanon » beside the official market. I cook chapati, chai, food for the lunch. Before i used to work at a place called Fire. When I met sister Reachel and brother Laurent, we discussed and this was the beginning to discover about the literacy class. For me it brought me hope.

When I was a kid I didn't have chance to go to school, life was very hard. My mother used to live alone and had to take care of me, my brothers and sisters. It was difficult to find the daily food, so we didn't even think about going to school. My mother spent her time to find solutions to feed us.

I had to leave early my family to be a housewife in order to survive and support my family. I had to fight hard until I met my husband, then as together we could improve our situation.

Still I used to feel the pain of not knowing how to read and write. It didn't give me chance to find a better job, because I was asked to read, sign, I used to feel bad. I didn't imagine there could be a place to learn to read and write for us adults.

When I met Reachel and Laurent i saw a chance to hope new things. Even at the beginning i was very shy, worried and was wondering where do i go ? I didn't feel confidence. I tried to attend all classes but sometimes i missed one... Life is still difficult, i have to leave home at 4.00 am, I'm working all day long, i have to run... But every tuesday, thursday, friday i do all i can to join the group of learner. Sometimes i have to carry with me the food i sell, all my bucket, its not so easy.

One challenge was to face the look of people around me, their words – they laugh at me, joking about me going to a class, leaving my job. But I am determined.

We begin at 2 pm and finish before 4. I feel a lot of joy to be part of the group. I see i need to make a lot of effort to improve. And we help each other; we pay attention that nobody is lost. Even myself i have chance to find support with my children, even if before they used to laugh about me in my first lessons. But they are proud of me because now I know how to read and write. Now we take a time to read together.

The atmosphere in the class is very good, it's important, we feel the teachers love what they are doing. They commit themselves with their heart, they support us, they follow us in our rhythm. The way they teach is lively, the videos they use are lively.

Today I manage to buy at the best prices, i can read the pack, i can change, count my money when i have to buy, i stop losing money in my small business. It makes me happy, I feel much more better in my life in general – because before it was like if I felt disable, it was difficult to communicate, I used to stay silent.

I never thought i could have this chance one day – i think of all of us who didn't have chance to go to school, i would tell them if they hear about such an opportunity that they don't hesitate to go, don't hesitate to learn – that way we can overcome ignorance.

Celebrating 17 October- Dar-Es-Salaam
14/10/2016
Jenifa Ninaitwa
Tanzania

For those who don't dare to come we would say stop feeling ashamed.

My name is Masudi, I come from Arusha, Meru and today I live around the Fish Market, working as fisherman according to the needs. I live in the Lebanon, to so-called place besides the official Fish Market. I got news about the Literacy Class from Issa Mfaume, who registered my name. He committed to invite all people living around to access the class. I knew just the week before that a class would begin, in the offices of the Fish Market.

Its something very good for me because I don't know really know how to read and write. I couldn't read the news or letters. I'm a musician, I like to sing but I cannot read text of singing. I have a dream to write songs, but until now I didn't manage.

In my family it was hard to finish school, it was too hard for my mum to support us to follow school. She had to raise us alone. I tried a vocational training, to be a metal maker but the same way we lacked of money to continue. I decided to leave Arusha to find a job in Dar es Salaam. I felt life would be easier. I first arrived in Ubungo ant then I went to the Fish Market to find money. There we are a group of young living as we can.

I try to attend all classes, I don't really feel difficulties to learn. My main difficulty is to see, because I lost a bit of my eyesight because of the activity of welding I did. I used to receive a lot of dust in the eyes, we didn't have protection. But it doesn't matter, I want to learn, I like it so I choose always to sit down closest as possible to the black board.

I tried to remind my friends that today is the class, I try to motivate them. The young who are going to fish during the night cannot come back to the class. They tried but its too difficult. I think for example about my friend Samuel, for him its too difficult, he's too tired to follow the class. Most of the young have to fight every day, they don't have choice, they have to go to work and miss the class.

The way we learn is not far from the way I saw in school. Maybe the difference is the atmosphere. We feel as a family, really. We meet together, we exchange, we support the neighbor besides. If someone misses one day we try to show him the next time what we did. We try to progress together. In school, I didn't manage to catch up, here I feel free, more responsible.

Before we didn't know each other very well, we just cross each other. Now we are friends. But we see people not able to follow, giving up.

Its important to know how to read and write because we fight to overcome ignorance. I feel myself more open minded. My friends of learners say it's helpful for them in their daily struggle for business. Some says it gives us freedom, for example when we have to move in town, to identify the places, the transport. In our community when you know how to read and write you feel more respected, recognized.

All of us feel joy to go to the class, with the feeling to progress, to see the world opening for us. Some say as well they feel like a relief. Now we feel part of the community as anyone.

And for those who didn't come, who don't dare to come we would say join the group, stop feeling ashamed. Some told me “you waste your time, you should go to work now” - but I tell them there's no age to learn, not a better moment more than another. There's no limit to learn. The most important is not losing hope.

Celebrating 17 October- Dar-Es-Salaam
14/10/2016
Masudi
Spain

How collecting scrap metal on a daily basis provides a living.

Necessity forces you to get out of the house, when you have no other choice. I would like to wake up every morning and go to a regular work place. Before I used to work and I enjoyed that lifestyle of security and a regular income every month.

It allowed me to have a more comfortable lifestyle, to eat out with my wife, do the shopping etc, but now with the recession, it's harder to find work.

I am able to claim a benefit but can't manage to live on it. I have to go out of the house to find enough money for food, or for things for the house. Collecting scrap metal provides work for a lot of people nowadays.

I use my bike as I live quite faraway from everything and there is no rubbish dump in my village. If I go with a cart it is very slow. With the bike I manage to do more and to get home to spend time with my children.

This lifestyle is very hard, as some days I can find enough to allow us to buy things for the house, milk or meat, etc,but other days, I earn 3E and have no money to take home.

It's hard physical work and tiring, working with the metal, but I put up with it. It's difficult to live like this, with little means, and not harming anyone.

Some days it's so desperate that you don't feel like living any more. Because you're really in desperate situation and you don't find anything.

There are people who insult you and who antagonise you, it makes it more difficult and makes life harder.

When people insult me I try not to reply, to not turn around. I continue on my way. It's a waste of time replying. One day I was on my bike and a person blocked my way with their car.

If I was physically attacked, how would I manage to feed my children ?

Sometimes it's the other way around. Once I had cut my hand and a man stopped and gave me a tissue and looked after the wound.  It's a glimmer of hope when people who don't know you understand and approach you and help you, not financially.

That motivates me and makes the day a better one.

05/09/2016
My blue bicycle.
International

Overcoming Poverty 2015: Videos on Education for All

Karina and Jenifer from Guatemala, and Eden from the Philippines, take action alongside others to help ensure access to learning and a decent education for all children. They delivered their personal stories to mark the 2015 “World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty,” October 17. Reinforcing the testimonies of people around the world striving to overcome poverty all year long, their stories on video also contributed to the United Nation’s commemoration of the day in New York.

You can watch their videos at this link

Eden Mañalac lives in North Cemetery in Manila, Philippines. Along with other community members, as well as friends from other neighborhoods, she takes part in her country’s efforts to ensure that all children have access to quality education.

Karina Hombrados is a street vendor in Escuintla, Guatemala. She reads with her children whom she can longer afford to send to school. For her, a good school that provide a decent education is one in which teachers are motivated and work in partnership with parents to reinforce values and learning.

Jenifer Betzabé Orozco is a 21-year-old student living in a working-class neighborhood in Guatemala City. She explains how difficult it is to keep up one’s studies when you struggle in poverty every day.

08/12/2015
Eden, Karina, Jenifer