A few weeks before October 17, 2022, in Bolivia, a group of ATD Fourth World activists, friends and allies met to prepare together. They conducted 5 peer groups reflecting on 3 questions on Dignity in Practice. In this way they arrived prepared for the event on Saturday 15 October at the Human Rights Assembly in La Paz, where they listened to testimonies and worked in groups.
there were great listening moments, when the collective testimony ” The dignity put in practice” ” was read
“When we live in poverty, we are made to feel as if we are inferior to others :
- they discriminate against us on the basis of our clothes at work, in the hospitals
Because we haven’t had the opportunity to go to university and we don’t know how to express ourselves.
- We resort to jobs that do not help us to maintain our dignity, we accept any low-paid job, and sometimes we don’t even get paid.
Discrimination and humiliation exist since we are childrend and we are made to look ignorant until we are adults. We cannot defend ourselves and we are trampled underfoot.
- In the face of our great need, we even put aside our dignity.
We have knowledge, but it is not valued, not respected”.
And in particular with the life story and resilience of Mrs. Martha, which she courageously read out herself.
“They made us work hard, and paid us a pittance. Muchos se aprovechaban de nuestra situación por ser niñas e indefensas. To endure bad treatment, insults, that you are a stupid, that you don’t know anything, that you have to learn, that I only teach you once. As I was still a child, I could not learn well all the things I had to do. That’s how I grew up. I have lived humiliations, they always treated us as Indians, that you are poor, that you don’t know anything, that you are ignorant. Crecemos sin esperanza, sin sueños, sin anhelos, sin una palabra de aliento y sin un futuro mejor. That is what others would have you believe.
Now I have my family and I don’t want my children to suffer what I have suffered, because when I was beaten, there was no one to defend me. I don’t want my children to lack the necessities of life.
Everything I have lived through, many families live through today, we struggle every day to get ahead, so that our children can have a better future. Today I have learned to believe in myself, because I have met people who have taught me to value myself as a person and to believe in myself”.
Meanwhile, a group of young people reflected on the theme of dignity and environmental justice, they painted a mural and made a thought-provoking video.
Every person has value and dignity that we have to respect and recognize no matter the situation she lives. To respect the dignity of all, we need to build a more equitable and just society by eliminating the prejudices we have towards others.
We need to take care of each other, to end humiliation and inequality. We have to be conscious in our actions, put ourselves in the shoes of others, accept, value and respect ourselves as we are.
Without belittling the other, we must seek justice, equality and peace for all.