Signs of Hope on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Today is the official United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty but it won’t make the headlines in today’s news bulletins, or trend on Twitter.

The 2013 Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) will be held on Thursday, 17 October at United Nations Headquarters in New York, focusing on the theme – “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty“. It’s worth reading more on this:http://undesadspd.org/Poverty/InternationalDayfortheEradicationofPoverty.aspx

In a world that produces enough food to feed everyone on the planet, yet where 1 in 8 people go hungry every day, where are the signs of hope? In CAFOD we take every opportunity to bring this shocking reality into the public arena through our campaigns and social media channels. With our partners in England and Wales and overseas, we attempt to address the underlying natural disasters and structural causes that are keeping people poor.

Last weekend Cyclone Phailin hit India damaging and destroying hundreds of thousands of buildings and flooding farmland
over a vast area. Our partners report that whole villages were washed away. Robert Cruickshank, who leads our humanitarian work in Asia, says:

“The evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people has saved a great many lives. But this disaster will still have a serious impact on huge numbers of people. Many families going back home from cyclone shelters will find that their homes and possessions have been washed away. With water sources destroyed and many villages waterlogged, sanitation is also a serious concern. It’s vital that people have clean water and adequate sanitation in place in order to prevent the spread of disease. People are likely to need shelter, food, clean water, hygiene kits and basic household items to replace those that have been washed away. In the longer term, families who have lost everything will need support in making a living again.”

Our local Catholic partners are on the ground, assessing the most immediate needs. We have pledged an initial £50,000 to support them in providing immediate aid. We can do this thanks to our supporters who contribute to our Emergency Fund.

Yesterday on World Food Day, 50,000 Hungry for Change campaign cards were handed in to 10 Downing Street. The IF Campaign got a mention in Prime Ministers Questions and yet the stark fact is that poverty not only remains but is getting worse, at home and abroad.

Also yesterday came this announcement, “Over 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers helped in the same period last year. The Trussell Trust says that UK hunger is getting worse and the charity is calling for an inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the consequent surge in foodbank usage”. See this link to read more on this reality http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-numbers-triple

So where are the signs of hope? They are hidden in the actions of ordinary people who respond with compassion and love, through their faith commitment or out of a sense of common unity and a desire to reach out and help and in the people who are afflicted by poverty themselves, both here at home and around the world.

More than 50,000 people took the time and signed campaign cards calling for the Prime Minister to act on world hunger; another is the response by individual people who generously donate money and time to enable organisations like CAFOD and the Trussell Trust to act; and in the heroic struggles of people living in poverty themselves, who in the face of such adversity, take action to overcome so many obstacles in an effort to secure their tenuous hold on life.

You can be a sign of hope too!

 

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