Why Give Poverty a Voice?

Hi all, my name is Tammy. I am a mum to four kids and a wife. I am an activist, family member and a volunteer for ATD Fourth World UK.

I am also part of The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty project and I’m in the book. I shared my story during the project and we all said that we need to be able to have a voice. So the project Giving Poverty a Voice came about…

Giving Poverty a Voice is about people in poverty having a say and a voice. When you live in poverty people don’t care what you have to say. They see you as a lay-about and not wanting to do stuff but that’s not true. I worked when I had my first two kids and my hubby was working when we had all four… unfortunately circumstances made it so he had to give up work due to the fact our kids have disabilities and I am now disabled also. There is nothing I can do about it. We didn’t set out to have kids with disabilities or for me to have disabilities, but you learn to live with it to a certain point.

That’s why 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.

In my opinion the reason people in poverty don’t get their voices heard is because people see us as lazy and good for nothing, sitting around on our bums!! But we are not!!  We don’t choose to be in poverty. We didn’t wake up one day and say “I know I will stop everything and just live in poverty.” It’s circumstances that put us all in poverty, it is not by choice. We didn’t choose to be disabled, or have disabled kids or be made redundant.

I think poverty needs a voice because people in poverty are not heard because of the views of others trying to keep us down. So giving poverty a voice is a good thing because it gives everyone who lives in poverty a say and a chance to be heard.

I believe the challenges people face when you live in poverty is that you are not taken seriously. People don’t see you as someone that matters to them, you are just a number, and most people don’t care about you or your situation. One of the things that makes it harder for people in poverty is the media (the newspapers and the programs on the TV). They don’t show the true things. They edit it so it looks bad. The only good truthful program I saw was actually a documentary made by ATD Fourth World and Oxford University called Rich Man Poor Man. It’s that type of documentary that show the true facts, figures and people that will help give people who live in poverty a voice.

Also groups giving poverty a voice like this blog, needs to be made world wide. It won’t happen overnight but if enough people take it upon themselves and also with help to get their stories out there then we can all make a difference. We need people that are willing to go the extra mile and I hope the blog will be the start of it all.

​Don’t be ashamed or afraid to speak out because if we don’t speak out nothing will change and over the years people have taken time out of their lives to speak up for you, but they can’t keep doing it on their own. They need more people to join in and help.

Tammy, proud mum of four and an ATD Fourth World Activist.