October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It’s a day which goes back three decades, from the original proclamation in Paris, France
On the 17th of October 1987, defenders of human and civil rights from every continent gathered on this plaza. They paid homage to the victims of hunger, ignorance and violence. They affirmed their conviction that human misery is not inevitable. They pledged their solidarity with all people who, throughout the world, strive to eradicate extreme poverty. “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.” Father Joseph Wresinski
“Human misery is not inevitable”
Those words should echo with us as we look around our own region. 1 in 10 people in Waterloo Region live in poverty. The issue is in our cities ,towns,villages and rural areas
Last month United Way Waterloo Region Communities began its discussion on how to “change the power of poverty”
That power manifests itself in many ways. Families go hungry, individuals face incredible barriers to success, and children are left behind.
To some degree, poverty can be invisible in the region. While we might notice the person on the street looking for help, the vast majority of those struggling are out of our line of sight. There are 50 thousand people in Waterloo Region walking against the power of poverty.
And it may not be as far away personally as you think. A recent survey from the Canadian Payroll Association found 50 per cent of us are living paycheck to paycheck. Many are just a serious illness, accident, or layoff away from having to choose which bill gets paid.
Your donations to United Way help provide the building blocks people need to take a step forward. Perhaps those donations will provide an after school program for a child who needs a boost in self esteem to improve their educational standing. Maybe it supplies a single mother with the tools she needs to improve her skills, and move into a better career.
No matter how that donation goes to work, you’ll know it’s taking away some of the power of poverty.
This issue is far too complex for one organization. United Way is uniquely positioned as an agent of change working with a variety of partners, and sitting in on numerous tables to bring a collaborative approach. With the concerted effort of donors, partners, agencies and volunteers we can make a difference.
Across Canada, United Way has a prescence in more than 5 thousand communities, investing more than a half billion dollars in providing people with the help they need.