In 1987, thousands of people gathered at the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza at the Trocadéro in Paris to recognize the plight of families living in extreme poverty around the world. This inaugural event was organized by Joseph Wresinski, founder of All Together for Dignity Fourth World, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness of social and economic conditions that force families into poverty. This gathering would launch the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a worldwide event recognized by the United Nations and celebrated annually Oct. 17. As this year's event approaches, October is an ideal time to recognize the struggles of families living in poverty and examine the ways in which we can work together to eradicate poverty around the world.
Eradicating poverty on a global scale is a massive task,
which is why raising awareness of events such as International Day for the
Eradication of Poverty is so important. This year's emphasis is "Working
together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and
knowledge of people in extreme poverty."
Families living in poverty not only face real hardships in securing nutritious food, clean drinking water and access to health care; they also experience discrimination and prejudice. This is particularly true of women living in many developing nations around the world. In some countries, women and girls are routinely denied access to the same opportunities (such as education and job options) as men and boys.
Discrimination does more than make life harder for children in need. It also robs them of their voices, preventing them from making their needs heard on a global stage, as well as in their communities and families. ChildFund is dedicated to listening and responding to the voices of children and family members who live in poverty.
Many of ChildFund's projects
focus on giving families the tools they need to emerge from generational
poverty and build lasting, sustainable change. The effect of these projects
can be powerful, as our programs in Brazil have demonstrated.
Food scarcity is a serious problem in some rural towns and villages in Brazil, which is why we launched a project to help Brazilian families grow their own vegetables. The community gardens project has enabled parents to tend their own gardens and grow healthy, nutritious vegetables to ensure that their children have a plentiful supply of food. As well as sustaining individual families, the surplus produce grown in these gardens can be sold at local markets, providing families with an additional source of income.
"I am very proud to have such an opportunity as it is something I like to do, and I have also learned a lot by exchanging ideas with the other participant families," says Osmar, a parent enrolled in ChildFund's agricultural training program. "To work in the vegetable garden is a therapy to me. Besides that I can also sell some products in the market and that is a big help to me."
In other countries where extreme poverty is prevalent, such as Honduras, our early childhood development centers provide parents with training and guidance on a variety of topics including maternal health, child nutrition and cognitive and motor skills. The Guide Mothers program has empowered Honduran mothers to learn more about their children's development needs, which will have a lasting impact on their communities.
On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, please consider making a donation to one of our special projects or becoming a child sponsor. Together, we can positively impact the lives of children in need and their families around the world.