October 17 – World Day for Overcoming Poverty in Burkina Faso!

This article is imported from our 2017 Stop Poverty Campaign web site.

World Day for Overcoming Poverty in Burkina Faso, 17 October – Linda Schweitzer-Lestien, permanent volunteer with the ATD Fourth World team, talks about the occasion that opened three days of festivities, with the showing of the film, Joseph the Rebellious on 18 October, and a conference-debate in Ouagadougou on 20 October.

300 of us met at the Fourth World African Commemorative Stone in Manéga around the theme: Even in extreme poverty, people have ideas. Together, let’s build a society that respects everyone’s dignity.” The programme included testimonies, sketches, music, contributions from various associations and the representative of the Minister for Social Action.

Everyone put the imprint of his/her hand on the Stop Poverty banner, before walking together to the Stone. We left at noon as this is the hour when only the poorest people are forced to work under the sun. In this march, we left at the pace of the weakest, with no one in front and no one left behind. We were together.

Message from activists about the Fourth World African Flag, read by Moise Compaore


Distinguished guests, dear brothers and sisters,

We, ATD Fourth World of Burkina Faso activists, are profoundly pleased to be able to celebrate this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with you today.

May we remind you that the theme chosen for this year is: “Even in extreme poverty, people have ideas. Together, let’s build a society that respects everyone’s dignity.” In line with this theme, we can state that it is through meeting together that we succeed in constructing our thinking.

Before, we counted for nothing in other people’s eyes, but today, thanks to our meetings, we are happy that people take notice of us. We are even called activists. There is progress in our struggle. There are changes in our ways of doing and acting.

Our meetings are our university. They bring us humility, intelligence and wisdom. Mossi people say it is through others that we acquire intelligence. By being together, we are a family. A family that allows everyone to feel listened to, considered and respected. A family where ​​everyone’s ideas have a place. We offer each other advice as an encouragement in our daily struggle against poverty in the community. “If you are distant from one another, you throw stones. It is because we do not sit together that we do not understand one another.”

Sometimes our commitment is misunderstood by people around us. They think we are coming together to make money. No, at our meetings we do not receive money. Our meetings allow us to acquire ideas that can help a person in poverty to remain hopeful, and a rich person to see differently.

Before, we had difficulty in speaking up, but today we are able to express ourselves in front of a large audience. “Before I did not know how to speak, but today I became Radio France International. Before I got upset quickly because I could not speak. Now I have more control over myself.

Faced with life’s daily difficulties, our meetings allow us to remain hopeful. We want our ideas to be recognised by all humanity as ideas that can change the world; ideas that contribute to the development of our communities and our country.

Distinguished guests, dear brothers and sisters, there is no worthless person in this world. The poor need the rich and the rich need the poor. Let us join hands to build a society that respects the dignity of everyone.

Sketch: “The old man braiding ropes” An old man picks up some bags on the floor and everyone makes fun of him “Old man, get out, go and do a real job. You’re shaming us. Hey old man, you have to respect yourself.” But he continues to pick up the rice bags and settles down to braid a rope with the bags he has recovered. Suddenly, the whole village arrives “Help, a child has fallen into the well. We need a rope!” The old man gives his rope so that the child can be saved. The whole village comes to thank the old man, and everyone apologises for having insulted him. “No one is worthless. We are poor, but we have ideas which can also help the community.”
Welcome from André Compaoré, doyen of the Movement in Burkina-Faso, who proposed the theme for this year: “Even in extreme poverty, people have ideas. Together, let’s build a society that respects everyone’s dignity.” With a sculpture of Father Joseph Wresinski, by Florent Bambara.
Z’Alass, Mano-Son, Jahwambuga and General Goubson inspired everyone with their song, Stop poverty / Act all for dignity / Even in poverty, a man has ideas / We must listen!