Pathways for a United World: The End Poverty Week
How about the End Poverty Week launched by the Youth for a United World? Here, some of the initiatives that have taken place all over the world!
A group of “gen” (young people from the Focolare) who live in the French capital city wrote, “Since there are so many homeless people in Paris, we decided to do something for them. Every one of us, during the week, on our way to university or work, brought them a snack or a meal. We also started a WhatsApp group, where we share our experiences, to be always inspired to give something more every day!
Here are some messages that they posted on the chat:
Jasmine: I had a chance to feed two homeless people, Gabriel and Ottman, who live not far from my place. They were surprised with my concern and very happy that I invited them home tonight. I was told they prefer hot soup and vegetables so they can sleep better!
Camille: Today I offered a meal to a homeless person I met in the subway.
Anna: This morning I gave an apple to a poor man who I always meet on my way to the subway. He was so thankful and I was very touched that such a small thing could have such a great effect on him.
Myriam: I got something to eat from home today so I wouldn’t have to spend any money in the cafeteria. I intend to make this effort throughout the week and donate what I have saved at the end. Another thing I intend to do, is to limit the waste of water when I wash the dishes or when I shower, thinking of people who don’t have access to water! I will give my extra food to the homeless tomorrow.
Maria: Today, I didn’t do much but run. I was careful not to buy unnecessary stuff (for example, chocolate and the juice I like). I bought only some cheap organic pasta.
Alban Hills: The Gen at the International Gen Center spent last Saturday with some migrants from a Reception Centre located near Velletri, in the area of Alban Hills (South of Rome). This is what they wrote:
«Over there, we met a family from Egypt who shared their experience with us. We collected clothing and food for them».
Loppiano (Florence) – The young people who are attending the Gen schools of the International Citadel of Loppiano have also participated in an initiative that involved the rest of the Citadel. Here is what they wrote:
«We have chosen not to buy any ‘comfort food’ such as crisps, biscuits, Nutella, etc. Another thing we did was to save electricity. Every day at 9.30 pm, we would all stop using electricity in the house. Instead of spending time on our mobile phones or watching a movie, we spend time with each other.
On Friday, February 22, we organized a “LoppiBar evening” for the #EndPovertyWeek, with a concert and games. In addition, we decided to take shorter showers and to share our belongings in the ‘Fagotto’ (goods to share) of Polo Lionello Bonfanti (industrial area). The money we have saved this week will be used for a fund for young people in Venezuela».
Some young people from São José dos Campos, in the State of São Paulo, opened the week on Monday by reading a text by Chiara Lubich, “Being Another Jesus” (November 23, 1950), followed by a time of sharing. They told us, “It seemed good way to prepare our hearts for the week ahead.”
On February 20, they participated in an event that has been taking place for over a decade, led by the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate: «In this event, food is distributed to the less fortunate who live in the streets of São José dos Campos. We offered a dessert but we received a lot more in return. It was a time of personal and spiritual growth for all those involved».
Some very young people in Mumbai have begun collecting newspapers and magazines for recycling to help a group of disadvantaged women and their children (11 women and 7 children) living in a family home called “Shantigar”, run by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Mumbai. The event took place on February 24.
Alvin and Tiya (13) wrote: «One day one of our parents visited this family home and realized that people there often did not have enough to eat. We met and decided to do something. We wrote a letter to our neighbours asking if we could collect their newspapers. After two days, some of us went door to door to talk about our “Zero Hunger” Project and explain what we intended to do with the money raised from the newspaper collection. We distributed about 200 letters involving not only our Catholic neighbours but also people of other faiths. In two hours, we had visited buildings and got into a five-storey building where we didn’t know anyone. We went back to a few houses that were closed the first time we went there. To our surprise, even our younger brothers and sisters came with us to help us visit more buildings. Many, especially those of other faiths, encouraged us with their kind words, telling us that what we were doing was really a good initiative. We want to collect newspapers but also food for Shantighar’s house. When an old man read the letter, he told us that he did not have any newspapers but he gave us some money to buy cereals. After a few days, a woman called one of us to ask where she could leave her papers, because she wouldn’t be at home on collection day. Yesterday, a man called us to say that, since he only had very few newspapers, he was happy to contribute with money. Some of our parents also helped us collect the papers».
We received news from Nigeria, more specifically from Calabar, in the South: «This has been a difficult week because of general elections, many people have been wary. In fact, we are still waiting for the results. During this week, we have been all able to give something every day: our time, our love and extra care, money, food… As a group, we visited an orphanage, sharing the little things we could afford to buy. We told them why we were doing this because we all have something to give. They prayed with us to make sure that no one would ever be in need again and then they wrote about what they could give».
In short, if we look around, it seems that we have achieved our goal: to shed light on the many initiatives taken to eradicate poverty and raise awareness about this goal. Now it is important not to stop here, to keep looking around, making the needs of our people our own, in order to eventually reach our goal – “No one in need“.