By Jill Lang, National Coordinator for Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week in Australia is an annual event to raise awareness of poverty. It was inspired by the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) but here it is expanded to include a full week.
The main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to
- strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and within Australia;
- encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.
The Week involves independent activities by a wide range of groups and people – religious groups, educational institutions, credit unions, rotary clubs, welfare agencies, community groups, businesses, unions, government departments and local councils around Australia..
This year we anticipate well over 400 activities will be held around Australia.
- We know of at least six major national reports on poverty in Australia will be launched during the Week (for example the Salvation Army’s Economic and Social Impact Survey Victoria, and St Vincent de Paul’s national report, Sick with Worry.
- We know of at least 10 major conferences or forums will be held during the Week exploring the causes and consequences of poverty and the solutions including the Australian Institute of Family Studies Seminar in Melbourne Housing, Transport and Family Hardship and the Anti-Poverty Network SA Conference Stand Up! Speak Out! in Adelaide.
Others activities during Anti-Poverty Week include workshops, awards, exhibitions, fund-raisers, publications, presentations, addresses, festivals and many other activities focussing on different aspects of poverty and hardship at home and abroad.
These events will be held in shopping centres, parks, cathedrals, community centres, libraries, hotels, health centres, welfare agencies, business offices, town halls, parliaments, universities, schools, car parks, squares and markets
Key themes include links between poverty and education, health, work, financial hardship, housing, food and utilities. Other issues include Indigenous poverty, homeless people, poverty and children, poverty and older people, poverty and people with disabilities, rural poverty and many others.
Participants during the Week this year include the Governor General of Australia, the Governor of Queensland, the Premier of NSW and other senior State and Territory Ministers, Lt General David Morrison, Mayors and Lord Mayors, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, Tim Costello, Emeritus Professor Tony Vinson, Emma Alberici, Professor Julian Disney and Dr. John Falzon.
To see the detailed list of events go to Anti-Poverty Week Calender of Activities 2015
Over the last ten years, the participation of organisations concerned with financial hardship and microfinance has increased at a great rate. The workers in these organisations know the impact of poverty on families and individuals first hand and they offer hope and assistance for people affected by poverty.
This is an important time of year to focus on the great work that microfinance experts and financial counsellors can do to help people feel more in control of their finances, prevent crippling debt and provide pathways out of poverty. We encourage all of them to be involved.