2020-10-17 GENERAL HOUSE

17 October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

How is it possible that, in the midst of the 21st century and with all the means at our disposal, we still have to talk about this day? This and other related questions come to mind with some frequency. Often a double emotion can run through us. On the one hand, we can feel the incomprehension, the anger, the despair because the political and economic powers do not respond to the situation of poverty in which millions of people find themselves. On the other hand, we find ourselves inconsistent, because we do not do everything we can and because of our lack of generosity.

The figures offered to us by international organisations are scandalous, with hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, which means it is impossible to access food, drinking water, adequate health systems… In these circumstances, human beings lose their dignity and capacity to be able to develop fully. Poverty and human rights are closely related in a reverse way (the more poverty there is, the more easily fundamental rights are violated).

This day, in addition to reminding us of the situation suffered by millions of people, is an invitation to remember all of those who have worked and continue to work to eliminate poverty, in any of its forms. At the same time, we must continue to make an effort to ensure that it is precisely the poor who become the promoters and architects of their own development. The XXII General Chapter, in the Message sent to the whole Institute, reminded us of this: “Flee paternalistic approaches and empower those who have no voice”.

I propose to situate ourselves from two perspectives: to be positive and to be realistic. Two perspectives that, in my opinion, must not be separated. Reality can lead us to negativity, since we discover so many situations in which human beings continue to suffer from lack of food. Unrealistic positivity can lead us to think that everything is improving, that many things are already being done. Yes, both “being positive and being realistic” have to march hand in hand.

The world situation, as a result of the consequences of the pandemic we are experiencing, is clearly regressing. The number of people living in poverty, or at risk of exclusion, is increasing considerably. Here too we have a challenge, to discover how to respond to the emerging needs of our time. Without doubt, this situation of health and social crisis is provoking new needs and new responses. Again, we refer to the Message of the last General Chapter, when in its fifth call it invites all Marists of Champagnat to “Respond boldly to emerging needs”.

From the Administrative Units, from the General Administration, from the Bureau of Solidarity… we are working and discovering new ways of responding to these new needs. Recently we launched the initiative “Global Marist Family Fund for Humanitarian Emergencies“, with a double objective:

  • To create a solidarity awareness as a Global Family;
  • To raise funds to respond to basic humanitarian needs.

Let us continue to walk in this direction.

Br. Ángel Diego, Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity


Marist International Center (MIC)...


Marist Educator Award 2020 values innovation ...