Dignity Voices Podcast
“Dignity Voices” is a podcast for the 30th anniversary of UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Episodes are in English, French, and Spanish: Listen here!
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a platform for people from disadvantaged communities to speak out. On October 17, gatherings at the United Nations and around the world acknowledge not only suffering, but struggles for a better life. Listen to voices from around the world describe how this day–and all it stands for–is critical to overcoming poverty.
Voices from lived experience of poverty
“In a prison in the Ivory Coast – Forging Freedom Together” is the story of Moise Compaore’s years spent in the Bouaké prison camp in Ivory Coast. He describes how ATD Fourth World transformed the violent prison into a place where prisoners collaborated on education and art projects. Together they created a beautiful sculpture that became a nationally cherished monument. Even during the country’s civil war, their remarkable piece of art was never attacked.
“From the Streets of Brooklyn to the Steps of the United Nations – The Story of Alvenia Hutton” As a child, Alvenia met ATD Fourth World in her dangerous, isolated New York City neighborhood. Years later, she spoke before an international audience at the UN on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. For her, the day represents all the ways that being part of the ATD community opened a window in her life.
“Discrimination is part of the poverty experience,” explains Andrew Kelly, ATD activist from Ireland. “When I was young, I was written off by many due to my situation. […] All too often people’s skills are not recognized and even ignored. This is prejudice and discrimination. It results in people in poverty feeling like they are treated like lesser human beings.” Mr. Kelly contributed to ATD Ireland’s report on poverty based discrimination, Does it only happen to me? Today he actively campaigns to bring poverty-based discrimination into Irish equality legislation.
Advocacy alongside people in poverty
“Families in Poverty – Key Partners in Development” Mr. Romeo Lagahit, from the Philippines, is former Regional Director of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor. In this podcast, he describes how ATD consulted people who live in deep poverty, adding their knowledge and expertise to the evaluation of United Nations development work.
“The Quebec Experience” The 2002 Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion legally requires that people with lived experiences of poverty be part of implementing and evaluating policies to end poverty and social exclusion. In Quebec, ATD is part of a group that makes sure this happens effectively.
Overcoming poverty-based discrimination
Reflections from Olivier de Schutter: “The fight against discrimination is essential to break the cycles that perpetuate poverty,” says Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. “People with experience of poverty live a vicious cycle of powerlessness, stigmatization, discrimination, exclusion, and material deprivation, which all mutually reinforce one another.” In this podcast, De Schutter talks about the ways people in poverty experience discrimination in many areas of life. Affirmative action, he says, has a role in breaking down social barriers.
Poverty and human rights
Why is poverty a violation of human rights? Is poverty a violation of human rights? Yes, says Ignacio Saiz with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Poverty is not natural or inevitable,” he explains. Rather it’s the result of deliberate choices made by governments and societies. It is policy decisions that determine who gets access to health, food, housing, work, and other rights. “Tackling poverty,” Mr. Saiz insists, “has to been seen as a matter of justice not charity…obligation, not just discretion or largesse.”
Global Goals and National Implementation: In a second podcast, Ignacio Saiz talks about the connection between countries’ human rights obligations and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. A human rights based approach is not just about “paper promises” he states, citing examples of how human rights rhetoric has led to concrete change. In fact, a human rights approach is essential in order “to tackle not just the symptoms of injustice but the system of injustice.”
ATD Fourth World: a movement born from persistent poverty
“Who is Joseph Wresinski?” ATD’s remarkable founder was born of immigrant parents and suffered deep poverty as a child. Jean Tonglet, an ATD Volunteer Corps member for decades, tells the story of ATD’s origins in France. With other families in a destitute and marginalized community, Wresinski built ATD into an internationally recognized movement. Hear how Wresinski’s determination and vision shaped an extraordinary world wide community of activists.
“Symbol of Humanity – The October 17 Commemorative Stone” and Remembering 17th October 1987″ Huguette Redegeld and Susie Devins are both women who have spent much of their lives building ATD Fourth World on several continents. Listen as they describe how the International Day’s history and symbolism have transformed the lives of people in poverty and others around the world.
“The journey towards UN recognition for October 17th and the role played by Perez de Cueller” One 1987 demonstration of activism initiated by ATD founder Joseph Wresinski and families in poverty became, five years later, a day recognized by the UN. In this podcast, Donald Lee, currently President of ATD Fourth World International and formerly an economist with the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, tells the remarkable story.
Hear these stories and more at Dignity Voices: