17th October, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Since 1992, the United Nations has recognised October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s theme is: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity(1)”.

Bus station with Ivorian sellers approaching

Try and imagine a world without poverty. How would it look? How would it feel?

Working and hustling never stops, picture taken in Abidjan

When I think about extreme poverty, I recall my time in West Africa when I spent days without having adequate meals. I survived weeks there where I ate only once a day on less than £0.50. At times, I had flashes of fear that I would become a homeless European in a Third World country! All the same, all the core-shaking experiences I had were just scratching the surface of what coping with the uncertain reality of chronic extreme poverty is like for the entrapped.

While I was living with a local family in Benin, after I was forced to leave my rented place.

I can’t stand it when people think that in impoverished regions the locals are waiting for the world to solve their pressing issues. When, in fact, they “gifted” the West with their wealthy states of today “providing” them with resources extracted by extreme exploitation (slavery as human energy to fuel economic growth, resource mining, or through colonization). Thus, contrary to popular belief, they are not expecting solutions from us!

Beninese Street food sellers let me pretend I knew what I’m doing

Even more so, they are working hard to overcome all the damages their pervading subjugation intensified.

Hardworking Sales woman and man at an Ivorian Street Market

While being immersed in poverty over the 12 months of my service time in Africa, I was involved in a fantastic volunteer project called Youth for Global Goals (https://youth4globalgoals.org).

Participants at YouthSpeak Forum.

There, we delivered YouthSpeak Forum without a budget to back us.

Panel Discussion with experts (UN, EurAfric, AkonLightig Africa, Local Social Entrepreneurs) at YouthSpeak Forum 2016 Benin Republic

The event gathered over 200 participants and more than 12 partners to connect like-minded young people and organisations like UNV, UNDP, and EurAfric to brainstorm on projects for the top three priority SDGs in the Benin Republic. In YouthSpeak Survey, our investigation concluded that SDG 1, 3 and 4 were the ones that over 1,135 Beninese young people considered the gravest issues their country was facing; among which No Poverty was predictably rated the most imminent.

Common transportation of goods and people in Benin Republic: kekenou

So when I think about poverty, I think about the energy of the locals I had the chance to live with, and youth who comprise half of the population in their country; in particular, the difficulties we fought through together.

Young AIESEC members from a local committee in Benin

Moreover, the unbecoming meagre opportunities these talented, ambitious, purpose-driven kids were offered just because they were born in a place where extreme poverty rules everything around them.

I can’t help but think about the loss to humankind of not knowing what these millions of young talents would have brought to the world if they had been provided with better circumstances to thrive.

YouthSpeak Forum finalists and organizer team from AIESEC in Benin

Please work with us to create opportunities for everyone to fight extreme poverty, and don’t let any child grow up without the circumstantial incentives to prosper wherever he or she was fated to be born.

Act Today:

1. Initiate conversations about the importance of getting together all over the world to eradicate poverty. Discuss how our world will be enriched if we succeed. Consider how poverty plagues your country.

2. Work towards No Poverty (SDG#1) by volunteering at http://www.aiesec.org.

3. Sponsor and encourage someone near you like a cousin, child, niece, or nephew to act upon the Global Goals by volunteering abroad for http://www.aiesec.org.

4. Reach out with advice, collaborate or provide financial support to an AIESEC entity, present all over the world.

(1) http://www.un.org/en/events/povertyday/

Article was written by Krisztina Kapuvári (findyourownlight) and originally posted on 17th October 2018 on Alumnet of AIESEC Alumni International – the platform available only for registered AIESEC alumnus.

Reposted on “whatareyoustillwaitingfor” blog, available for public.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AAI.

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Created by Kriszti@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space Illustrated by Kriszti@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space Edited by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space

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