In discussion with the Poverty Strategy Commission

Giving Poverty A Voice participants discussing poverty, social exclusion and other themes with guests from the Poverty Strategy Commission.

When was the last time you experienced exclusion? What do insecurity and precarity mean to you? What is disempowerment? How do you define stigma?

These are just some of the questions to which ATD Fourth World activists tried to find answers in our Giving Poverty A Voice monthly meetings in February and March.

The questions were inspired by the work of the Poverty Strategy Commission, whose role is to help policy makers and wider society better understand the impact of poverty and then take action to tackle it.

Person experiencing financial insecurity, financial exclusion and debt
Financial insecurity, financial exclusion and debt was one of the six dimensions identified by the Understanding Poverty in All its Forms participatory research study led by ATD Fourth World in 2016-2019.

Members of the Poverty Strategy Commission even came to Addington Square to hear the voices of people who have lived in the shadow of poverty and the damage it can do. Lareine Kenmogne spoke about her own struggles of living in a council house that was damp. She said, “We are always hearing how things have to change, how bureaucracy gets in the way, that nobody does what they have to do. But, really, all it needs is someone to listen. How many times did I have to repeat myself? I was so tired of saying the same things over and over again. Can you believe how draining it is?

“[My] experience made me realise you have to fight. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. If I was rich I would have fixed things myself; it feels like a crime to be poor, to live on the breadline.”

ATD Fourth World and the Poverty Strategy Commission hope to collaborate again before the summer to allow more people to share their experiences and also their hopes for change.