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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The Beginning

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The observance of this day can be traced back to 17 October 1987 when over a hundred thousand people gathered in Paris, France to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions are inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on this day. Since then, individuals and organizations worldwide observed October 17 as a day to renew their commitment in collaborating towards eradicating poverty.

Need of the Hour

Poverty has many faces. It can be starving children, children having no or limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion, malnourished mothers or it can be a single mother crying or begging while her children look on confused. When kids are born into families that are poor, these kids enter into a cycle of poverty that can be difficult to break. But, there is hope. We need to give children, families and communities the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.

17 October presents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, and recognize that all people must come together to end poverty and discrimination. Our top priority should be to build a sustainable future in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Education, healthcare, access to water and sanitation all help to break the poverty cycle and build solutions for people to improve their own lives.

Poverty Facts

  • The World Bank estimates that in 2012, 896 million people lived in extreme poverty

  • About one in five persons in developing regions lives on less than $1.25 per day

  • Millions more who make just little more than this daily amount risk slipping back into poverty

  • The overwhelming majority of people living on less than $1.25 a day belong to two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa

  • High poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries

  • According to their studies, over 1.6 billion people currently fall under their definition of extreme poverty

  • One in four children under age five in the world has inadequate height for his or her age

These numbers are daunting. Does it seem impossible to Fix? Do you think an average person cannot make any impact? Should you just give up?

No! Change starts with you. Every person on earth – even the most indifferent or laziest person is a part of the solution. Eradicating poverty calls for greater participation by all women and men, starting with young people, whose empowerment is key to success.

WE MUST ACT TOGETHER and trust that others will do the same!

What can you do

You can make the change with your small acts of humanity. Here are some ways you can have an impact and help remove poverty.

  • Be a conscious consumer and purchase from brands that drive social good.

  • Spend your extra time by volunteering your passions and skills to advance the work of the nonprofit community.

  • Donate to a cause you’re passionate about. Ask family members to make donations to a nonprofit organization. Run a campaign for your next special day.

  • Donate what you don’t use. Donate to homeless sleeping on the streets or to local charities who will give your gently used clothes, books and furniture a new life.

  • Never waste food. Always buy and cook how much you need. This way you avoid trashing the extra food in refrigerator.

  • Use our Earth’s natural resources wisely and help support economic growth and employment.

  • Offer support for everyone and a listening ear for people in need.

  • Learn more about the following pressing issues that contribute to poverty and find ways to help:

  • Education

  • Health

  • Economic Development

  • Use your social media account to educate others on poverty and to make your followers and friends take action.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a reminder that we must act together. Acknowledge how much you have and work to ensure that everyone has enough. In doing so, we can guarantee that our planet and our societies can fulfill the needs and aspirations of everyone and for our present and future generations.


More about the author: Hardeep Kaur

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