“With so many problems and so much stress, it is like the walls of my home are closing in on me. I have no time and no space to think.”
A life in poverty is one spent rushing around trying to find solutions to an endless stream of problems: financial, practical, physical and emotional. I have heard it described variously by those who face it every day as “a whirlwind” and “a prison”.
And yet, in a political climate where many living in poverty feel frustrated and rejected by the system, and where their poverty prevents them from contributing to conversations and debates on the issues that affect their lives, it is imperative that people have the chance to speak, share and listen to others.
Projects like Giving Poverty a Voice aim to create spaces where people who live in poverty can meet, voice their views, be listened to, gain information, think together and analyse what they share. This process is not possible without such spaces. One participant told me, “I have always known what poverty is but coming here helps me to think about what causes poverty and how to fight it.”
The residential breaks of the Getting Away From It project offer a less formal but safe space to meet others in the same situation. A simple conversation, a sharing of experiences or an offer of moral support can be all the more important when opportunities to gather and socialise can be rare for those who struggle with the effects of social exclusion. As one mother said recently, “I can be myself here; nobody is judging me.”
Creating spaces to allow for the building of friendships and support networks is what ATD Fourth World does. Sharing these spaces with others meets a need rooted deep within human beings and creates confidence, mutual learning and knowledge. This can be a real cornerstone in creating inclusive and positive change.
Thank you all for all your continued support,
On behalf of the National Co-ordination Team
ATD Fourth World UK
To read more about all of our work in the UK ATD Fourth World’s Annual Review is now available: