14th – 20th of October is Anti-Poverty Week for 2012. The Salvation Army is committed to eradicating poverty in all its forms. According to the United Nations (UN) poverty is,
‘a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to; not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation’ .
The Salvation Army in Australia is specifically concentrating on the problem of debt with the theme, ‘Debt Doesn’t Discriminate’. Debt contributes in multiple ways to people’s experiences of poverty. The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) reports that almost 2.2 million Australians – 11.1% of the population – live in poverty. That percentage has increased from 7.6% of the population in 1994, and 9.9% of impoverished Australians in 2004. We all experience knowledge of this poverty in some way – whether it be our friends, relatives, ourselves or marginalised people.
How can we all use this week to increase awareness and accountability of a problem which strikes at the very root of our society? We recognise that each individual has worth and dignity as being created in the image of God and we cannot be indifferent to each others’ needs. We are called to act. We all know the consequence of poverty and the resulting injustice in our communities and across the nation; let us work hard together toward eliminating poverty and restoring justice.
Additionally, The Salvation is present in 126 countries and committed to eradicating poverty globally. In partnership with other organisations we work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and halving extreme poverty by 2015.
For further information have a look at the following links, resources and additional reading:
• The International Social Justice Commission has released a paper that discusses poverty and a social justice perspective: http://www1.salvationarmy.org/IHQ/www_ihq_isjc.nsf/vw-news-34/B88D3F164E8D7A5180257A45003C881F?opendocument
• The Salvation Army Mission Resource Department has released resources pertaining to National Poverty Week, including a fact sheet: http://www.sarmy.org.au/en/Resources/MeetingResources/other-events/poverty-justice/2012-Debt-Doesnt-Discriminate/
• For information on policy, politics and the Millennium Development Goals see Micah Challenge. Further information about an event observing International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the 17th October is also available: www.finish2015.com.au