EYCE’s member organisations discuss poverty

Campaign-logo_FINAL_squareFrom 17th – 20th of October 2014, more than 20 young people from EYCE’s member organisations came together for a capacity building training in the framework of EYCE’s Campaign to Overcome Poverty “Break the Chains!”. The programme of the event was organised by the Campaign Coordination Team in cooperation with EYCE’s office and the Executive Committee.
The aim of the training was to offer EYCE’s member organisations and young people in their context a better opportunity to discuss the issues of poverty in Europe, as well as get deeper involved in the work of the campaign, through various activities on the local level.
The focus for the campaign in 2014 is on the mechanisms behind poverty, therefore the programme started with a look into the different mechanisms that surround poverty – mechanisms that cause, sustain and result from poverty. The participants visited different stations to discover the intangible relation poverty has to other social issues. Together, through studying various texts, the participants determined the causes of poverty, starting from natural disasters and migration to corruption, economic situation and discrimination. By discussing their concept of a poor person, the participants discovered a great variety of consequences of poverty, such as health issues, exclusion, shame and lack of self-confidence, blame security and many more. Finally, the participants discovered that the poverty and inequality of income as such are not only affecting individuals, but also strongly damaging the whole society, putting it into a downwards spiral, hindering the possibilities for development and innovation, e.g. through generally lower levels of education, worse health conditions and no capacity to improve one’s own conditions in various aspects.Martin
Guest speaker Mr. Martin Johnstone from the Church of Scotland in a captivating presentation explained the great diversity of work done by the Church of Scotland in overcoming poverty, linking it with theological and philosophical concepts of human dignity and our responsibilities as Christians. He pointed out 3 spheres of activity, where usually churches are involved – new models of church, new models of society, and wider church and society. Often in our work we tend to focus extensively on one of these areas, but the synergistic approach is essential. Finally, the most important of all is to involve the people in need themselves.
The participants were offered 3 practical workshops to learn methods and tools to address poverty in their local communities and youth groups. The workshop on advocacy offered a systematic and structured overview on how to develop and deliver an advocacy message, the Bible study focused on the story about the road to Emmaus and how it can be used to work with those in need, and finally the method of the Theatre of the Oppressed was used to develop solidarity and empathy, as well as find potential solutions to poverty issues.
The participants also discussed the ways how the member organisations in different countries, as well as individuals and EYCE itself could improve the work of the campaign. Good ideas and proposals were offered, in thematic work of the campaign, potential support of the member organisations in terms of human resources, as well as visibility were discussed.
Inequality dinnerOne of the highlights of the week was the inequality dinner, where participants in reality experienced the unfairness of division of wealth, and the issues related to that. Furthermore, the patterns of solidarity were observed, offering some unpleasant insights, for example, that having does not always mean sharing. Also, the discussions of material poverty and spiritual poverty were evoked, opening the whole other dimension of discussion.
Special sessions were dedicated to the more general updates about the work of EYCE and the activities of the member organisations, yet the relevance to thematic work, especially the campaign, was much discussed. In addition, a Romanian evening was organised by the local hosts, where the participants could practice Romanian dances and enjoy traditional food. The spiritual highlight of the meeting was an ecumenical service on Sunday, organised by the members of the EYCE’s Executive Committee.
EYCE would like to warmly thank our hosts in Sibiu for their warm welcome, all the help, support and driving! Thank you Adriana, Arnold and Peter!
The project was supported by the Council of Europe and Bread for the World.COE-Logo-Quadri-smallBfW_small