By a group of adults, friends of All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland
We are 20 men and women from Dublin who worked together to write this message. Most of us know very well what it means living on a very low income, and some of us have slept on the street. We know what it is to be put down.
To leave no one behind, we have first to put the homeless on a bigger agenda. They live extreme poverty and are isolated, especially the very young. It’s easy to turn to drugs when you’re homeless, because you give up . Taking drugs is an easy delusion to life.
Jackie said, “Leaving no one behind means bringing back a homeless person to my home, like some one from my family. I could lose my flat for taking this risk. But I do it because I was homeless.”
Teresa said: “Now I have my flat, but I would not walk past a homeless person. If you’re my friend when I’m on the street, You’re still my friend when I’m not.”
When you are in the street, it helps a lot when fathers and mothers can keep contact with their children. If you have children, it gives you the will power to say: “We don’t want this for them!” So we can start to get help.
Around town we see homeless people, young and old. Why can’t all the empty buildings be used to offer them proper homes? What can we do to leave no one behind?
We are born equal and in innocence, but our paths in life are not equal.
One father said, “I was left behind at school years ago. The class teacher hit me and I reacted. I told the teacher what I thought of him. I was then thrown out. I was just 13 and school was finished for me. There were no more chances to learn. I stopped going to school. No one ever came to my house to ask ‘why?’ Yes, I was left behind.”
It is life long access to education that gives people another chance.
To leave no one behind, we have to understand each other, to take time to walk in each other’s shoes, especially when we want to work together. In everyone’s life, it’s important to have people who set an example.
Our communities can offer the chance not to be left behind. For each person who faces hardship and a risk of isolation, for those who receive a prison sentence, let’s not turn our backs.
An answer lies in friendship and in the people you get to know in your community; keeping contact and talking with each other; being a good neighbour is very important. We need to have a sense of humour as well, that we share with others. It is part of being together.
But we never should, put anyone down. All this gives you the understanding of belonging somewhere. Everyone should have their chance to make their mark in their community.
Today we want to remember all those who have died in misery, especially those who died during the past year. Their lives were too hard. Sometimes our lives are the same.
This testimonial was shared in Dublin on the occasion of the World Day for Overcoming Poverty. More information on that event can be found here.