October 17th is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Poverty
“This day honors the millions of people suffering from poverty and their daily courage and this day recognizes the global and shared responsibility we all hold to eradicate poverty and combat all forms of discrimination.”
Eliminating Poverty in all its forms is the first of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. The 2019 UN Report on Sustainable Development indicated considerable progress worldwide had been made in achieving this goal over the years from 2015 to 2019. This year in 2022 the UN reports that this progress has been largely eradicated by the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic and more recently, by inflation and the war in Ukraine.
Living in poverty leaves a person feeling powerless and trapped by circumstances beyond their control. Poverty has many aspects and can include:
- Lack of access to the resources necessary to sustain life
- Food insecurity
- Limited or no access to clean water resources
- Lack of adequate shelter
- Lack of access to healthcare
- Lack of access to employment or social services
- Experiencing barriers such as gender or racial discrimination
- Living where there is government corruption
- Living with the impacts of environmental disasters and droughts brought on by climate change
Working towards a Society of Justice and Inclusion
Eradicating poverty necessarily requires a more equitable distribution of wealth and access to societal goods, ensuring everyone has the resources they need to live life with dignity. This means identifying existing patterns of social exclusion and discrimination. Who is being left behind and why? Bringing everyone to the table and listening carefully to the voices and experience of those who have been excluded is critically important. Progress will be made when we all stand shoulder to shoulder with excluded communities to support their full participation in political, social and economic life.
To achieve desired outcomes, we must use our collective voice to influence government, corporations and other key institutions in society to adopt more just and inclusive policies and effective practices.
A Prayer for Eradicating Poverty
Creator God, Your image is alive in every human person
giving to each of us an inviolable dignity.
Create in us a desire to act in solidarity, the ability to work together, and a willingness to share with others
our time, our energy, our skills and talents and our wealth.
As we share and enjoy the fruits of your creation,
restore in us your vision of a world made whole,
and inspire us to commit ourselves to the common good.
Gracious God, give us ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts to love, so that we reflect you in our way of life,
and in our choices, words and actions.
Jesus is the good news to the poor. As his followers, may we recognize the call to be the same.
(Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)