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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2020
The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was ‘Acting Together to Achieve Social and Environmental Justice for All’. I was initially worried about introducing these concepts to the residents of Ahuva Good Shepherd-Small Group Care – even I had to do some ‘Googling’ to fully understand what this theme meant. However, I was extremely touched by the capacity of the residents to engage in a discussion about this difficult topic, and show empathy for others.
To start off, we watched the video ‘Living on One’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCT5HsUi7VE) together, which was a series about teenagers who lived in rural Guatemala for six months to understand what it was like to live on one dollar or less per day. I then asked the residents what they would do if they had to live on a dollar a day for a week, and one of them mentioned that she would just eat potato chips from 7-Eleven as they were cheap! I couldn’t help but laugh at the innocence and simplicity of her answer.
We then did a small activity comparing what life in Singapore would be, to what they thought life in a rural, less-developed area would be like. We discussed how life would differ in terms of food, water, healthcare, education, and more. The residents participated very actively in this discussion, with one resident even sharing about her experience living in Vietnam. Their answers demonstrated a lot of compassion for those less fortunate than they are, as well as gratitude for the resources available to them in Singapore.
To link this activity back to the theme for the year, we also considered how the experience of things like natural disasters and climate change would differ significantly if one was living in poverty. Those with the least are often hit hardest by crises, as they have less resources to support and protect themselves. I highlighted the need to practise good environmental practices like recycling and minimizing waste, as everyone agreed that we all had a part to play in reducing the impact of climate change.
At the end of the exercise, we brainstormed what we could do to help in achieving justice for all, and the residents shared about wanting to donate to those in poverty, and to share what they had with those in need. I was touched that these girls were willing to reach out and help others, considering that many of them come from humble backgrounds themselves. I think this goes to show that all of us can demonstrate generosity and gratitude regardless of where we are in life!
Student Intern (University of Sydney)
Ahuva Good Shepherd – Small Group Care
30 Oct 2020