Poverty has many faces, whether it be starving children in Africa or India or whether it be a struggling single Mother crying in the supermarket as her children look on confused. The examples of poverty range from extreme to almost imperceptible and the UN has declared Fighting Poverty to be one of the cores of their Millennium Development Goals.
There is no denying that poverty is a social struggle and affects communities far and wide with impacts on single people and whole cities. With rising awareness in recent decades there are now more steps than ever being taken towards the eradication of poverty and the assistance and inclusion of those struggling with poverty towards being a part of the solution. The complexity of poverty is now better understood due to increased cultural awareness and sympathy with true connection and motion towards a solution. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed to promote and acknowledge the effort and struggle of those living in poverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty also gives people living in poverty a specific opportunity to make their concerns and thoughts heard, recognizing that they are the first to fight against poverty.
Origins of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The very first observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be pinpointed as the 17th of October in 1987. On that Saturday in fall more than a hundred thousand people congregated at the Trocadéro in Paris, France. It was there that the Declaration of Human Rights was signed by the United Nations in 1948, in order to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. The central principles expressed in the declaration were carved in a commemorative stone, which was unveiled at the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights in 1987.
Multiple replicas of the stone were made and have been placed around the world to serve as locations for gathering each year to observe the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. One replica of the stone is placed in the garden of the United Nations Headquarters, where every year there is an annual commemoration held by the United Nations Secretariat. Hundreds of people gather each year to renew their resolve to combat poverty and to demonstrate their solidarity with those living and struggling in poverty.
In 1992 a resolution was adopted and the General Assembly declared the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty as an official day on which to promote events “with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.”
Observing the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is specifically set aside for activities which relate to the eradication of poverty. Thus it would seem the best way to observe the day would be to find an organized event in your city or town that is providing a focus on observing the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. If there is no official event organized in your area then consider volunteering at a homeless shelter or other such place which is likely aware of the significance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and is likely engaged in special celebration of the day.
Most importantly, the day is an opportunity to recognize the struggles of those living in poverty and to encourage their efforts and the efforts of anyone working to eradicate poverty.