UK: Making Poverty History

Up to 300 parishioners, students and staff from Jesuit schools and parishes took part in the mass rally in Edinburgh on Saturday, 2 July and in the activities of the days that followed, in support of the Make Poverty History campaign. The Jesuit delegation, coordinated by Jesuit Missions UK, included a delegation of ten from IJND (International Jesuit Network for Development). Two of them, Joseph Xavier SJ, of the Social Apostolate for Southern Asia and South Asian People?s Initiative, and Charity Musamba from the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Zambia, spoke before a crowd which swelled by mid-afternoon to a peak size of nearly half a million people. ?Mass mobilisation has become an important tool for social transformation?, notes Fr Xavier reflecting on his experience in Edinburgh. ?While one can question the immediate outcome of such huge efforts, still mass mobilization has given a new impetus to civil society organisations to go beyond their narrow ideological outlooks and work towards common, shared platforms and build up synergies?. Thanks to this gathering the Jesuit delegation had ?an opportunity to strengthen networking efforts with organisations engaged in advocacy at the international level,? confirms A.M. Karaos, Director of Jesuit-run Institute of Church and Social Issues in the Philippines. Making poverty history is a formidable challenge, an impossible one, according to many; still, we are the first generation that could make it happen, and, as Noemì de la Fuente from Jesuit centre Alboan asks, could we look in the eyes of any one of the 50,000 people dying of poverty each day and tell them that we face an impossible task?