Temshinaro | EMN
The International Day for Eradication of Poverty has been observed across the globe since 1987 and the theme for this year’s edition of the commemorative event is “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.”
According to the mission statement of the United Nations, the persistence of poverty, including extreme poverty, is a major concern for the United Nations and, at its 72nd session, the General Assembly launched the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027), with the theme “Accelerating global actions for a world without poverty.”
It is important that the Third Decade’s inter-agency, system-wide plan of action to coordinate poverty eradication efforts of the United Nations system includes an effective partnership with people living with poverty.
Life as you see it has a series of problems and issues. Problems know nobody; some heal with time while others seem perpetual. Poverty is a problem that affects humans from within.
For many individuals, personal sentimental pursuits, say collecting clothes, chocolates, and such tertiary materialism may have become a ‘need,’ while some long for just two square meals a day, or proper clothes to wear.
Many a time, most people living above the poverty line fail to realise that helping a person—out of the millions living in the street—with one meal may just bring change to the society. We have become so luxury-driven and obsessed with high living standards that we have been blinded from those who need our help.
Yes, there are people who work only for the poor and are happy only when serving the needy. But out of millions, such philanthropists exist only in countable numbers. As Barbadian singer Rihanna once said, “What that little girl watching those commercials didn’t know is that you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian; you don’t have to be rich to help somebody.
“You don’t have to be famous. You don’t even have to be college-educated. But it starts with your neighbour… You just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can.” The singer said so on being awarded Harvard University’s Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2017 for her extensive charity work.
Like her, many individuals — both the poor and the rich — dream of bringing change in the lives of the underprivileged. Every child dreams of becoming somebody: doctors, engineers, fashion designers, etc., when they grow up. Yet, not many fulfil their dreams. Likewise, helping a person in need has become only a dream to many—if only their life’s schedules and work would give them time for the needy.
What if the millions of people living above the poverty line were to pledge to serving the needy and the poor? Won’t the world be a better place to live in? Heaven on earth would surely be for the poor whose lives once had no place for happy days.
Seasons come and seasons go but the lives of the downtrodden remain the same. The responsibility is to be shared equally when it comes to helping fellow friends, be they from the elite or the middle class. A person from the affluent class constructing a house or sponsoring a child’s education might be considered equal to a middle class person donating cloths or a meal to the poor. Big or small, in cash or in kind, or in prayers and wishes, the focus is to help anybody who might be in need.
With more than 60 percent of the population attached to social media and the internet, what the world needs is to read, to see, to act and react. With most account holders on social networking sites posting heart-touching videos of people from around the globe reaching even far-flung areas, what are the useful steps/efforts taken as a result of such posts? For instance, a person shares a short documentary or a video about a poor boy begging on a street and a man serves him food. Here, ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ in the lakhs would be given within minutes with many heart-touching comments to it. Many viewers might view it and shed a few tears and then forget about it or just do nothing about it…
Are you one of those types? If so, then my friend, a change is needed in your life.
Life as you see it is not the same as it is for everyone else. Some say the poor are poor because they are destined to be so; and the rich are rich because they are destined to be so… But one’s ‘destined’ life can always be changed if others are actually willing to help. Receiving a pair of clothes or a table fan from someone may not make the poor any richer; the well-to-do spending some amount of cash to buy a pair of clothes or a table fan won’t make the giver poor.
But here, it is important to understand the fact that not all the rich are heartless, nor all the poor humble—there are exceptions to everything and anything. For instance, one winter day when I was out with my friend shopping, a beggar in her late sixties approached me. Seeing her, I checked my bag for change but unluckily that day I didn’t have any. So, I calmly said, ‘Aunty, aji toh nai.’ (Today I do not have any change to offer you). As I was leaving, she murmured and cursed me for not giving her money. I know it’s not always a good idea to offer money to beggars who are physically fit, but there are exceptions.
What if a group or individuals decide to teach the homeless manual work that can help them earn daily wage for living? Many must have done it and many might be planning to do so. What if it becomes a trend…
Why think of helping the poor only when you have become rich, or only when you have earned enough? All of us have a desire to have what we want. Our wants have become a desire today. So, with the lists of wants (needs), I believe spending a few bucks for the children on the streets with chilled water, or bread, would bring smiles to both parties.
With the onset of winter, everyone starts shopping for new winter clothes considering their clothes from last year’s wardrobe out-of-fashion. But the poor, who need warm clothes, have only the same set of clothes they have had from several years past, and they could be already torn and worn out. Millions long for just a single warm blanket to wither the winter.
What if everyone who can afford it pledges to buy a blanket each for the ones who need it the most? I believe that the poor and the homeless, who sleep peacefully with gifted blankets not costing more than INR 500, will smile and thank you from their hearts. The long weary winter nights will no longer be that pinching cold.
What if the poor weary individual shivering in the street were you? Wouldn’t you consider a blanket or a jacket gifted by someone when you are freezing to be the greatest gift of all? Yes, you would and we all would…
Likewise, summer is a season when everyone longs for colder days to come. When the well-to-do sleep under AC and fans, many stay up with papers in their hands trying to cool themselves down. Imagine the scorching heat burning down right on your face when your stomach is empty.
Serving a glass of juice or a bottle of water would serve at least a small purpose to the one seated under the sun with no place to call home.
Like seasons, the life of a human moves in cycles. What if all of us were to one day decide to live perfectly just as we want others to live? Change starts from home.
I believe that the best would be to share, care, love, give, teach and support each other. Eradication of poverty requires a lifelong devotion to the cause.