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
Ireland

Creating a support network for young mums.

Hi all, my name is Ritah, I am 24 years old and I have a 7 year old boy. Diane, who wishes she could be here today to read this with me, is 23 and has two boys who are 6 and 4. We both got pregnant when we were teenagers and life changed for us completely.

At 18 years old, we were single young mums with no family support. I remember going home after my son’s birth from the hospital. I had no-one to teach me how to feed him, bathe him, change him or what to do when he cries at night, and it was so challenging. I had to figure out all by myself how to look after him even though I had never even held a baby before. Nights were so tough, because he would stay awake all night.

There was no one who asked me how I felt or to have a chat with me about how I was getting on as a single young mother. Being a mother is hard in this world, but being a young single mother is extra hard because you also have to be the father to your children, not just the mother. Diane was also going though the same struggles: like me, she had to grow up so quickly. She was meant to have social workers but didn’t and so was all alone with a new-born baby and the only option she had was to really fend for herself.

Life was just hard for so long and the road was tough, lonely and scary. But the two of us were determined to give our children a better life and we found an inner strength to carry on, to go back to school and try to achieve the dreams we’d had before. Diane and I became friends and we would speak about all the challenges of being a young mother and hoped one day to reach out to others. Because of what we went through, we never want to see any other young mother with no family support or other networks to go through the same challenges we did. We know how it feels to be alone with your child with no one asking you how you feel, check on you in the hospital, give you a call to find out how you doing or have a cup of tea with you.

Some people need a holding hand, a shoulder to cry on, and we wanted to be people the people who can empathise with them. We also want to remind mothers that having a child young cannot stop you from reaching all your goals. It could be education, employment, engaging in different activities or anything. There are barriers such as child care, the stigma attached to being a young mother, mental health issues, but there is power in togetherness, and once we come together we can overcome these barriers and reach for our dreams.

We’re both studying social care and when Diane heard about a social enterprise where people have to come up for an idea about something missing in Irish society, we applied. What we thought was missing in Irish society was help for young mothers, mothers who are alone, young mothers with no family around, young mothers who are completely isolated and lonely and having to grow up quickly. Our idea to create a support network for young mums won first place. And after that happened we thought “do you know what? We have to work towards this, we have to make it happen” so today we are working on our dream, we’re working with Marie in the Dominican Justice Office and we have our first meeting of the Young Mothers Network in a few weeks, we’re starting small at the moment but the whole idea is for young mums to meet with other young mums, to find strength in being together, to help each other not to lose their goals, or to forget who they are.

Yes they are mothers, but they’re still individuals with dreams of their own. Maybe someone here will want to come to our group. We want to tell you that you would be welcome.

Thank you.

17/10/2015
Testimony of Diane and Ritah with the Dominican Justice Office
Russia

17 октября 2015

В нашей стране всего несколько сотен тысяч людей живут хорошо - это в основном в больших городах, большое начальство. Остальные миллионы живут за чертой бедности.

Я и моя семья живем в России. Здесь по официальным данным более 20 миллионов человек живет в очень тяжелых условиях крайней нищеты.  Однако мы видим совсем другую картину и нищих у нас в разы больше. Борьба с людьми, которые выпрашивают милостыню ведется очень жестко - их облагают штрафами за попрошайничество и поэтому только самые отчаянные могут себе позволить просить у других людей на пропитание.

Завтра 17 октября 2015 года, я буду целый день КРИЧАТЬ людям из нашей страны о борьбе с нищетой во всем мире. Около 100000 человек я проинформирую о том, что ООН уже 22 года как объявило о борьбе с нищетой во всем мире!

In our country, only a few hundred thousand people are living well - they live mainly in the big cities. The remaining millions live in poverty.

My family and I live in Russia. Here, according to official data, more than 20 million people live in very difficult conditions because of extreme poverty. However, we are now seeing a very different picture and there are more poor people than ever before. They are now fighting against people who beg  - they are imposing tough fines for begging. These people are so desperate that they have ask other people to help feed them.

Tomorrow, on 17 October, 2015, I will spend the whole day  SHOUTING to people in our country about the worldwide fight against poverty.  The United Nations has declared this for 22 years around the world.

16/10/2015
Артём Белый
South Africa

CRYING OUT FOR HANDS UP, NOT HANDS OUTS

I am very much disappointed about our Governments in Africa.I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. As a young person, irrespective of my circumstances, I genuinely prefer a hand up rather than a hand out. The fact is that I want to live in a country that will enable us to prosper, regardless of my background. I don't want to improve only my own quality of life, but I want to advance the lives of the others. Charity is vertical. It goes from the top to bottom. Solidarity on the other hand respects the horizontal, it respects the other person. If would be good if our Governments allow us or give us a platform to advertise our skills as young people,

Charity helps maintain socio-economic structures that disadvantage those in need of help in the first place. But solidarity empowers the collective oppressed by destroying impediments that are the cause of many of the ills that we are facing. I would like to help fight this battle of poverty.

15/10/2015
Boy Samson
Thailand

Resembling the Stone

The Stone, a reflection of our lives intertwined as a sturdy slab.

Intertwined with affection, unity, harmony and interdependency.

We are learning to think positively.

We are learning to search for those courageous to face the truth and stand up for righteousness.

We are learning to handle injustice with prudence, tenderness and kindness.

We are learning to know our true selves through the grace of the Lord.

Give us the chance for mothers and fathers to bring up their own children,

For the new generation to have a benevolent, warm and secure future,

Where they are free to choose to work for the joy of their families,

To have jobs that bring pride and dignity to their lives.

The Stone is hope, not a shadow of destitution.

The Stone whispers out in search for the honorable luster of loyalty and equity.

The Stone calls out for voluntary minds to alleviate trouble and strife.

The Stone calls for those responsible for themselves, their families and society.

The Stone yearns for courage that helps the people and the land to survive.

Have we forgotten money is not the most important thing in a person’s life.

Have we forgotten democracy is not power to violate the rights of others.

Have we forgotten the law is a peace-keeping tool among the crowd.

Have we forgotten we all have the right to comfortable, peaceful and safe lives.

Selfishness makes us forget the future of our children, our lineage and our land.

Selfishness makes us forget the future of humanity and the environment.

Selfishness makes us forget ourselves and our future.

But in the graceful Stone lie our lives forever joined.

Aporn Poompanna

2014

Translation : Ajarn Sasee Chanprapun

READ AND PLAY TO END POVERTY WITH CHILDREN
12/10/2015
Aporn Poompann
Germany

Cold and Warmth

I address these words to the Church, to politicians and neighbours and to society as a whole. My theme is Cold and Warmth.

Children especially need a loving family like a warm nest.

But everybody needs a home, some emotional security.

A cold social atmosphere makes people shiver.

First, to the Church:

The church is a place where one should be able to recharge, isn't it …

Where one should feel at ease.

Why is it often sooo cold in our churches!?!?!?

Both denominations, protestant and catholic, should take some time to think about that.

After all, the Bible teaches us to embrace those people

who have no defences,

who must live on the verge of isolation, for instance because they are poor …

Nor should we make judgements

If someone has not studied, or is a different colour from us.

Where people are judged or condemned

there is no sense of emotional security.

There one fears to get hurt, or insulted.

I know that well.

Since I've only been to a special school

I am often excluded and pushed away.

At the f.i.t. Project, I am allowed to contribute.

That gives me strength and the courage to carry on living.

Now to the Politicians: Ladies and Gentlemen Politicians!

What is on your minds in everyday life? Politics, of course!

But what about the human beings, the little people!?!?!?

Aren't they left behind!?

Do you know how that is perceived at the bottom: when there are weeks of haggling about five Euros more in benefit for the long time unemployed – while billions are spent in the same year to save the banks?

Or politicians' salaries are raised substantially?

It is like a cold blast to us, the little people, that pushes us even further to the edge.

And what brash words are uttered!

If you were talking with us instead of about us,

you might develop a feel for what it means to be poor.

Many politicians want to be sooo Christian, or sooo socially minded

- then there should also be something to show for it.

Then you should take care that no-one is left behind …

that all are able to live – and don't have to take on five jobs, for instance,

so they can feed their families.

I also want to address individuals and society as a whole:

What happens if someone cannot go on, when he has to give up?

In the Me-first society he is given the cold shoulder, ignored.

Where is the neighbour, or society!?!?!?

There are good neighbours in our society. Unfortunately, they are few.

Where has warm hearted compassion gone!?!?!? Nothing but silence ….?

But we, the little people, won't remain silent today!

We can give each other love, tenderness and warmth -

with kind words, such as: “You are precious, yes you!!!

It isn't your fault that you have to live like that.

Don't give up!

If we all take part in that, you and I,

Then no-one will have to feel cold.

Damit niemand auf der Strecke bleibt!
30/10/2014
Mrs L