Answering the cry
Less for self, more for others, enough for all! That was the beautiful chant at the annual ANCOP Walk that took place on Saturday August 20, 2011 at Assiniboine Park where hundreds of supporters gathered. ANCOP is an acronym for “Answering the Cry Of the Poor” and together, the organization raised in excess of $36,000, proceeds that will go towards building homes for the poor in the Philippines and other developing countries.
I believe it’s important for all of us to realize the role that we play in answering the cry of the poor not only in the poorest of countries but also in our own back yards.
In a first world nation like Canada, why do you think poverty still exists? The reality is, it is present everywhere, even in the wealthiest of countries. It exists because of a variety of factors, many of which seem beyond our control. Some blame poverty on poor politics, that not enough is being done to support those who are disenfranchised and that governments of all levels should do more to take care of its most vulnerable. Others blame poverty on poor economics; that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and as a result, social and economics divides are created among communities.
Although I would not be bold enough to say I have the answer to eliminating poverty completely, I believe a big part of the solution lies in fish. Yes, that’s right, fish! If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man how to fish, he eats for the rest of his life. It’s about helping those in dire need by giving them a hand up rather than a handout. It’s about restoring personal self worth and value. I believe everyone dreams of living a self-sustaining life; to be able to provide for themselves and for the people they love. However, along the way there are those who aren’t provided the same opportunities we had and life is more difficult. When you are brought into this world without a home, left hungry, abandoned and unloved, it’s no surprise why poverty still exists.
Back in the Philippines my father was an engineer, my mother an educator and together they worked hard to provide for my sister, two brothers and me. Like many, in search of a better life, my parents brought us to Canada. Unfortunately, their credentials were not recognized and they could no longer work in their desired fields. I am so proud of what my family has accomplished over the past twenty years. All my siblings are now comfortably independent and secure. What makes me most proud is the sacrifice that my parents made for us and their willingness to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
I believe we all have the power inside us to prevail, to not allow ourselves to be victims of circumstance and to rise up to the call of a good life. To me, opportunity means that where you start off in life should not determine where you finish. It is by having the courage to stand behind your convictions while possessing the determination to realize your dreams to the very end that makes life worth it!
We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. – Mother Teresa