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.


United Kingdom

What can we do?

It is hard when you are in poverty; there is a world outside your window of sadness and fear where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears.

While we are thinking about October the 17 and people on the street we must also think of those poor families who cannot afford presents as Christmas is near and that every Christmas people on the street only hear the bells.

So what can we do to lighten up the day and bring joy to many people still living in poverty? But what can we do?

So I went out walking to think and I past a lot of trees, then it came to me, I had my note pad with me, and I started to write.....

No more shedding of tears

by Georgina

I went out walking to see if I could find any soil, but not just any soil.

It's got to be soil to help the poor, so it will make things grow and grow.

Something they can be proud of and lift their heads up high, with no more shedding of tears, but joy to a new world which they will make together.

Tired, so tired, I must rest for a while.

Suddenly I wake up.

A man was sitting next to me. I told him about the soil I wanted to get, he said to come with me to fill your dream.

He took me over the hill and there was the cave that was in my dream.

I went in the cave but where is the soil I do not see.  The man said to me "follow the light". I followed the light right to the end, and there, in the corner was a pile of soil.

I ran towards it and put the soil in my hands.

A feeling goes through my fingers and I'm sure this is the right soil.

It will make things grow and grow, where nothing has grown before.

Then it was time for me to go home. But not before the man asks me, "What is your precious thing in life?"

I answered my eye sight.  Without my sight, I could never see the beauty of the world.

I went back over the hill and stood at the top, and I wondered if Father Joseph had the same dream as me?

Now my pen has been put away, and there is nothing more to say.

Just to thank the Lord for this day.

United Kingdom

Why aren't we heard with our voices?

Oh why, oh why aren't we heard with our voices?

We cry aloud but we are not heard.

Oh why, oh why should we do as we are told by people of authority but we are not heard?

Oh why, oh why do they take our children away from us?

Oh why, oh why do they put our children into children's homes?

Oh why, oh why do they take our parenting rights away from us?

Oh why, oh why do we suffer in silence?

Oh why, oh why do we feel ashamed, as if we have committed a crime?

Oh why, oh why do we hide ourselves from humanity?

Oh why, oh why aren't we heard with our voices?

Oh why, oh why can't we unite and let our voices be heard?

United Kingdom

When you lose your children its like part of your life has been taken away from you.

The reason Social Services took my son and eldest daughter was because they have special needs.  When you lose your children, it's like part of your life has been taken away from you.  You are grieving but the child is still alive.  That is the saddest thing about it.  You shouldn't be grieving for a child that is still alive; you grieve for a child when it dies.  It creates a hole in your life, a gap that can't be filled.  Even today it's a gap that can't be filled because my eldest daughter is like a stranger to me.  I know she is my daughter but I don't know her, she is a complete stranger.  She is not my little girl any more.

When my second daughter was born, a professional said to us, "She could replace her sister." You can't replace a child for another.  They are two different persons.  They also say that after a long period of care or adoption, you can pick up the pieces and make up for lost time.  But the time is lost. That time you can't make up for, it's gone.

We had a family support worker around the time my eldest daughter was adopted.  I said to her that anything could happen in 14 years and (the support worker) turned around, thinking she knew it all, and said "Nothing will happen in 14 years."  But it did, I lost my wife.  My eldest daughter never got to see her mother, which is a great shame.  She would have liked to have seen her mother.  When my wife passed away, I saw my daughter for the first time after 15 years.  She was 18 years old.


Let us work hand in hand to reach for a brighter future.

This testimony exists in English and Tagalog

I am Diana. I live under a bridge in Paco. I have three children. My husband Benjie is physically disabled. He met an accident while selling mineral water in the highway. At present, we earn our living by selling all sorts of goods.

I am a community teacher of Ang Galing, the basic literacy program of ATD Fourth World. We teach the children in our community in Tulay. When ATD asked me to teach, I was hesitant. I told them that I was only a high school graduate and I do not have any experience in teaching. The ATD volunteers averred that I have rich background and experience and that the children and parents know me and trust me.

We teach reading and writing in Filipino. The program participants include children who are six years old and above, those who are out of school, and those who attend schools but experience difficulties in learning. Many of the children do not go to school because they face bullying due to their age or the fact that they live under the bridge. In the beginning, many did not participate. We did not give up and tried to find ways to encourage them to join. Before, we used to hold the session in the barangay hall. However, the children did not like to go there. We transferred to the sidewalk which are nearer their place of residence. The new site enabled the parents to see what we are doing with their children.

Before we mixed all the children together. However, we noticed that some were fast learners, while others slow learners. Many lack self confidence and are afraid to be the butt of jokes of their classmates. We changed our method and started to do a one-on-one teaching style. We in Ang Galing hope that the children will gain self confidence and develop trust between the teacher and the child. It is important the the teacher knows the child and the child knows the teacher as well.

We realized that every child is capable to learn, and because of the trust that we showed them, they were the ones who asked: “Ate, do we have classes?” The parents encourage their children to participate. Partnership with the parents is important to the success of the program as parents see what the program is doing to their children. We also allocate time to meet with the parents and inform them of the progress of their children.

Benjie, my husband, supports me in this activity, despite his disability. He looks after the goods and takes care of our children while I am away teaching. He also assists in the preparation during teaching days. He allows the use of our house as venue for teaching when it rains. Though we are poor, we exert every effort to live honestly.

For me, the meaning of ‘no one is left behind’ means to see the talent of every person and not his deficiencies. Like my spouse, though he is disabled, he does good things. I did not finish a teaching course, but I am able to help other children to learn.

Though we are poor, we exert considerable effort to earn honest and decent living. We ask you to look around you and find out what the poor really needs. For me, today is a very significant day to reaffirm our call for you to see and feel our dire situation. We do not demand that you provide us good life. We earnestly ask you to help us find solution to our predicament: design program with proper funding that will ease or alleviate our poor condition for all of us, to ensure brighter future for our children.

Like in teaching, everyone experiences difficulties. However, we learned and implemented new and doable solutions to make learning easy and more effective. We hope that you and we could emulate the same and find creative solutions to overcome extreme poverty. Give attention to the poor to find new ways to help each other get ahead in life.

Together we fight, end and leave extreme poverty. Let us work hand in hand to reach for a brighter future. Thank you.

Ako po si Diana Rose Balte Litana, nakatira sa ilalim ng tulay sa Paco, may tatlong anak. Ang asawa kong si Benjie ay may kapansanan. Na-aksidente siya habang nagtitinda ng mineral water sa highway. Sa ngayon, kinukuha naming mag-asawa ang panggastos sa araw-araw mula sa pagtitinda ng kung anu-ano.

Isa po akong community teacher ng Ang Galing, ang basic literacy program ng ATD Fourth World. Nagtuturo po kami sa mga bata sa aking community sa Tulay. Noong tinanong ako ng ATD na magturo sa mga bata, nag-alangan ako. Sinabi ko na high school graduate lang ako at walang karanasan sa pagtuturo. Pero sinabi nilang marami akong karanasan at kaalaman dahil kilala ko ang mga bata at magulang nila at tiwala sila sa akin.

Nagtuturo kami ng pagbasa at pagsulat sa Filipino. Ang mga kasali sa programa ay mga batang edad 6 years old pataas, mga hindi nagaaral o kung nagaaral man ay nahihirapang matuto sa paaralan. Marami sa kanila ang ayaw pumasok sa paaralan dahil binu-bully ng mga kaklase dahil sa edad o dahil nakatira sila sa ilalim ng tulay. Sa umpisa, may mga ayaw sumali. Hindi kami sumuko at naghanap ng ibang paraan kung paano sila mahihikayat. Dati, sa barangay hall kami nagtuturo pero dahil ayaw nilang pumunta doon, lumipat kami sa bangketa kung saan mas malapit ang tirahan nila. Doon, nakikita ng mga magulang kung ano ang ginagawa namin at ng kanilang mga anak.

Dati magkakasama naming tinuturuan ang mga bata pero napansin namin na may madaling matuto, may mabagal. Marami sa kanila ang kulang ang tiwala sa sarili at takot na pagtawanan ng iba. Sa ngayon, one on one kami – isang guro, isang bata. Ang pinaka-importante para sa amin sa Ang Galing ay ang magkaroon ang bata ng matibay na pagtitiwala sa kanyang sarili at na nagtiwala kami sa isa’t isa. Importante na kilala ng guro ang bata at kilala ng bata ang guro.

Napag-alaman namin na kayang matuto ng bawat bata at sa pagtitiwala sa kanila, ang mga bata na mismo ang nagtatanong sa akin: “Ate, meron?”. Ang mga magulang din ay sila nang tumatawag na sumali ang kanilang anak. Napaka-importante sa programa ang maging ka-partner ang mga magulang, na nakikita nila ang ginagawa ng programang Ang Galing. Naglalaan din kami ng oras para ipakipag-usap sa kanila ang progreso ng kanilang anak.

Ang asawa kong si Benjie ay sinusuportahan ako at ang Ang Galing sa kabila ng kanyang kapansanan. Siya ang nagbabantay ng aming paninda at nagaalaga sa aming mga anak kapag nagtuturo ako. Tinutulungan niya rin kami sa pagaayos ng gamit sa Ang Galing. Pumapayag siyang gamiting lugar ng pagtuturo ang napakaliit naming bahay kapag umuulan. Kahit mahirap kami kaya namin na magsumikap sa buhay.

Para sa akin, ang walang maiiwan ay ang makita ang mga talento ng isang tao at hindi iyong kanyang problema. Tulad ng asawa ko, kahit may kapansanan siya, kaya niyang gumawa ng mabuting bagay. Hindi ako tapos ng pagtuturo pero kaya kong tulungan ang ibang bata na matuto.

Kahit po ganito ang aming pamumuhay, pinipilit namin na makapaghanap-buhay ng marangal. Gusto po sana namin na tingnan ninyo kung ano ang nasa paligid ninyo at alamin kung ano talaga ang kailangan naming mga mahihirap.

Para po sa akin, ang araw na ito ay araw na maipaalam sa inyo ang matinding kahirapan na aming nararanasan. Hindi po namin nais na obligahin kayo na bigyan kami ng magandang buhay. Nais lang po namin na tulungan ninyo kami na may kasamang paraan at solusyon para lahat - na tayong lahat ay magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan para na rin sa ating mga anak.

Katulad po ng pagtuturo, lahat ay nahihirapan. Ngunit natutunan namin ang magandang solusyon para mapadali at maging epektibo ang pagtuturo namin. Sana po ay ganoon din ang mangyari sa atin. Sana po ay magkaroon tayo ng magandang solusyon para malampasan ang matinding kahirapan. Bigyang pansin ang mahirap para malaman nila kung paano nila tayo natutulungan para umasenso sa buhay.

Sabay-sabay po sana tayong lumaban, tapusin at iwanan ang matinding kahirapan. Sama-sama din nating abutin ang magandang kinabukasan! Salamat po.

Commemoration and Workshops

It is a goal in my life to encourage them to unite and to help each other against extreme poverty.

This testimony exists in English and Tagalog.

Testimony of Edgardo,  St. Luke Reach Out Foundation.

I am Edgardo, 48 years old, one of the volunteers of St. Luke Reach Out Foundation.

I would like to share with you some of my experiences as a person who lived on the street.

I came from the province, rejected by my family but hoping to have good luck in Manila. However, I was not lucky enough and I ended up down on the street.

Poverty, extreme poverty is what I experienced on the street. I even had to eat food from the garbage cans. I slept on the street with a newspaper or a cardboard and my unclean clothes as my pillow.

I became dirty, smelly and the people ridicule me. I become sick and a religious institution welcomed me in their community.

They took good care of me and I became cured. They sent me to a caregivers’ school. When I finished, I became a volunteer in their program and soon I was in charge of that program for the people who had become sick on the street and were given shelter in their community.

My life became beautiful because I received allowances.

However, somehow, something went wrong with their program and it was stopped. This was then also the end of my job.

I went back on the street, but this time not anymore as street people. I went back as a vendor, I sold candies and cigarettes using the money I saved from my previous work.

It was very successful. Then somebody offered me a small business and that I am the one who runs for it. Here my life changed.

Now, I live in a bachelor pad. It is clean and pleasant. I have a good life. Unlike a street people who live on the back of other people, I am now a productive person of the society.

Here I learned that our experiences are shaping who we are. They became the stairway towards success in life. Let us not stop our efforts, our trust and belief in God, hard work and perseverance is what we need to change and correct the direction of our lives. We must remember the saying that “With God is blessing, with man is action.”

Above all, we learned to appreciate what we have, small or big, we value it.

I remain a volunteer of St. Luke reach Out Foundation so that I can help them. It is a goal in my life to encourage them to unite and to help each other against extreme poverty. Together we can “graduate out off the street”.

Through my volunteerism, I can inspire others to help more sick people who sleep on the street, so that they can receive care and medicines for their serious illnesses.

It is not an easy task, there are many obstacles or barriers in my goal. I learned to be flexible, humble, listen and understanding. I know that I must be first a good model. Then they can leave the street with its poverty and live a pleasant life of being a productive person in our society.

My brothers and sisters, I hope I inspired you, and I hope we successfully eradicate the poverty through perseverance.

Thank you very much

God bless

Ako po ay si Edgardo Mahidlaon, Apatnapu’t walong gulang, isang volunteer ng St. Luke reach Out Foundation.

Gusto ko pong ibahagi sa inyo ang aking mga karanasan noon sa aking buhay langsangan.

Ako po’y isang probensyanong naglayas at nakipagsapalaran dito sa Maynila, ngunit ako’y hindi pinalad kaya sa lansangan ang aking bagsak. Kahirapan, matinding kahirapan ang aking naranasan sa lansangan. Naranasan kong kumain ng pagkain galing sa basura. Natutulog sa bangketa na dyaryo o carton lang ang sapin at ang aking maruruming damit ang siyang nagsisilbing unan ko. Naging marumi at mabaho ako, iniwasan, pinandirihan at nilait lait ng mga taong aking makasalubong sa kalye. Ako po ay nagkakasakit at napadpad sa isang religious institution.

Kinupkop at inaalagaan nila ako hanggat ako’y gumaling. Pinag-aral nila ako ng care-giver course, nang ako ay makatapos ako’y nag volunteer bilang isang caregiver na nangangasiwa sa isa nilang programa para sa mga taong maysakit sa kalye at kanilang kinupkop. Naging maganda ang buhay ko dahil tumatanggap din ako ng allowances. Ngunit sa hindi inasahang pangyayari nahinto ang kanilang programa, kaya ako’y nawalan ng trabaho. Bumalik naman ako sa kalye, ngunit hindi na ako isang yagit, bumalik ako upang magtinda ng mga candy at sigarilyo, gamit ang konting kong ipon na pera.

Lumago ito hanggat ako’y inalok na mamuhunan sa maliit na negosyo at ako ang magpapatakbo. Dito na nabago ang takbo ng buhay ko.

Ngayon po ako’y nakatira na sa isang bachelor pad, malinis at kaaya-aya, maayos na ang aking pamumuhay. Ang yagit noon na salot sa lipunan, ay tao na nagyon na kapakipakinabang ng lipunan.

Dito ko natutunan na ang ating mga karanasan ay ang siyang humuhubog ng ating pagkatao, at ito rin ang naging hagdanan ng ating tagumpay sa buhay. Huwag tayong huminto sa pagsisikap, ang pagtitiwala at tunay na pananampalataya sa Diyos, sipag at tiyaga ang ating kailangan upang mabago at maitama natin ang direksyon

ng ating buhay. Dapat din nating tandaan ang kasabihan na “Nasa Diyos ang Awa, Nasa tao ang Gawa. Higit sa lahat marunong tayong magpapahalaga kung anong mayron tayo, maliit man o malaki, sinupin natin ito.

Nagpatuloy po akong mag volunteer sa st. luke reach out foundation upang makatulong at matupad ang aking adhikain na hikayatin sila na magkaisa at magtulungang harapin at labanan ang matinding kahirapan at sabay-sabay umahon at lisanin ang buhay lansangan

At dahil sa pag boboluntaryo ko naging inspirasyon ko ang pagtulong sa mga may sakit na natutulog sa lansangan ang pag aalaga sa kanila ay sapat na upang sila ay mabigyan ng kalinga at gamot na lulunas sa kanilang mga malubhang karamdaman

Hindi po madali ang ganitong gawain,maraming mga balakid o hadlang sa aking hangarin, natutunan ko dito ang makibagay,magpakumbaba ,makinig umunawa at umintindi sa paniniwalang dapat ako ang unang taong maging magandang halimbawa at kanilang tularan upang makaalis sa tanikala ng kahirapan at makapamuhay ng maayos na may pakinabanang sa lipunan.

Mga kapatid sana nakapagbigay ako ng inspirasyon sa inyo, na sana matagumpayang lisanin ang kahirapan sa pamamagitan ng patuloy na pagsisikap.maraming salamat po


Commemoration and Workshops