Church Action on Poverty has worked closely with ATD Fourth World on several projects recently. They’ve recently launched a new blog, so we invited them to tell us about it.
One of the main difficulties in any anti-poverty work is challenging the public perceptions of poverty which are all too often based on a deceptive mainstream media portraying people in poverty as ‘the other’. There can also be a real lack of experience and understanding of the challenges that people living in poverty face.
For ATD Fourth World’s project The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty, participants shared their stories along with empowering pictures, showing their contribution to society. Participants discussed how important it is to have a voice, which led to our new project Giving Poverty a Voice. Monthly meetings and workshops encourage people to engage and participate in their communities, and have their say on the decisions that affect their lives.
ATD Fourth World’s new blog is part of Giving Poverty a Voice. It aims to counterbalance negative perceptions by creating a space where real-life experiences, thoughts, expertise and challenges can be shared publicly by those living on the sharp end, supporting people with experience of poverty to tell their own stories in the way that they want to tell them. In the words of a member:
“Giving poverty a voice is a good thing, you learn stuff you didn’t know before and you also speak out for everyone in poverty. We just need more people to have their say and not to be ashamed because of what other people think.”
ATD invites contributions to the blog. If you are interested in writing about poverty and the impact it has on all of us, you can submit your story at the blog. (ATD Fourth World UK reserves the right to analyse the content and whether to publish the article.)
It is important to highlight that the blog seeks to show that only through reciprocal efforts based on empathy, not pity or charity, can we endeavour to develop our human capacity for change. Only when we, as a society, focus on the positive actions of individuals and communities can we move away from blaming people for their situation and instead involve them in finding solutions.
We hope that all of the material produced as part of this project can be used as a resource for a more inclusive and constructive debate about overcoming poverty in this country, creating a platform for positive change.
ATD Fourth World UK is a human rights-based, anti-poverty organisation with more than 40 years’ experience of engaging with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty in the UK.