Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty, We, Empowerment - Blog Action Day 08

Silent, it surrounds us, no matter where you are. We want it to be invisible, untouchable, but it's there waiting for you, me, US. No government can really change it. WE CAN.


I am the daughter of parents who struggled, who came from very poor environments. I'm the daughter of Italians immigrants who lost the little they had during World War II. I'm the daughter of Brazilian migrants who moved from the hardship of one of the poorest states in my country, Piauí, in search for better, decent living, in search for opportunities, trying to leave poverty behind...I am lucky. I live a comfortable life because my family survived and thrived. I am the generation of the inheritance of what my parents, grandparents fought, dreamed, worked hard for.

The president of my country, Lula, is a vivid example of a childhood of the dispossessed kids in my country that fought against his own poor destiny. Lula was a shoe-shine boy. Now, his government tries to fight poverty. He takes the reigns.

We want poverty to be invisible, but it is around us even in the countries considered the richest in the world. Even if Brazil is still considered Third World, it is full of richness. The paradox lies in the inexorable truth. In a country where natural resources abound, millions of people are hungry. In a place where the biodiversity is generous, we struggle with health care. In my Brazil full of bright minds, creative souls, millions just don't have the minimum education that empowers one to dream of a better, decent life.

How can we reverse, re-imagine, redo the world surrounding us with the contrasting beauty and the ugly, superfluous hot bodies and sick ones lying on the streets, brightness of a sunny day and the gloomy senseless darkness of the ones without hope, decency, or food to eat?

Maybe WE could start with little steps, WE could start by seeing what surrounds us, WE could take small actions that could make a difference to one person or group, WE could hold the hands of the ones who need to stand. No. Fighting poverty doesn't need only to begin with huge governmental actions. It's easier, isn't it, to blame invisible forces and governments for viable possibilities. The solution starts in our homes, teaching our kids about generosity, sharing and giving. Facing poverty is being brave enough to see reality through different lenses and taking action in every little way we can.

I'm a believer in the transformative power of social action, mobilization. Just like my parents and their families changed the course of their poor lives, WE can help others do the same. I try to do my share, but still I feel I'm not doing enough. It's time for action and engagement.

I finish with Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian photojournalist, whose work and willingness to raise awereness touch me deeply. He's doing his huge contribution to poverty. How about US? What can WE do?


Of Interest: Brazil's Economic Boom Marred by Social Inequalities

Friends’ Posts: Dennis Oliver’s

Originally posted at

1 comment:

Saša said...

I was deeply touched by your post. It's definitely way easier to point your finger at others than to 'be the change you want to see'. Brazil for me is the land of wonderful, open, creative, energetic people - thanks to you and people like you.