LISTEN to the experts of poverty, exclusion and inequalities!

The way people experiencing poverty are portrayed in the media is often limited, when not pejorative or insulting. The media (not all, but always too many) often seek sensationalism, dramatic personal stories, and relay stereotypes nurturing guilt, laziness, lack of ambition, of strength, and a series of other likely preposterous and ungrounded stigma. So does a range of political figures. Organisations like EAPN, its members and alliances, working with people experiencing poverty, fight to challenge these.

Poverty is a lot more than ‘only’ a monetary issue. A first step to understand poverty, is to LISTEN to the experts of poverty, those who experience it daily, those who daily need to chose between eating and heating their home, feed their children and make them feel equal as their school friends, find a job at any price, make ends meet when they can’t be met.

Messages from the 2014 Meeting

“For a migrant to feel included, they need to feel valued”. – from the Migrant workshop

“It is difficult to cross the border from childhood to adulthood when you are marginalised”. – Sofie Bay-Petersen, SAND Denmark

“Do not ask us “what is your problem?” but “what is your dream?”. Give us a reason to fight for ourselves”.

“Homelessness is not a choice”.

“Our government’s social benefits are very low, a lot of young people end up homeless because they have a choice between food or a house, and most of them will choose food”

Emma, Denmark, young woman who has experienced homelessness.

“Young people in Europe today are the ambassadors of the future, the Europe of tomorrow” – “we need to launch a social policy that brings wellbeing back to the people”. “I can assure you that the European strategy is not the right one, because poverty has done nothing but increase” – French MEP Karima Delli.


Messages from the 2013 Meeting


Mr. Milan FURAK, Delegate from the 2013 Meeting of People experiencing poverty, 2012, gave his personal insight on what the European Meetings of People experiencing Poverty has meant to him

I came to the European meetings for the first time last year and i then realized that poverty is not only my problem or a problem of my region, but that it is widespread even in countries that I thought were rich and prosperous.

Listening to the stories of other people who went through the same things as me, who managed to come out of poverty and now lead a dignified life and help others, had a great impact on me.

So far, I was convinced that no one cares about poverty, and that the authorities and the government are only interested in the poor people during elections campaigns, when fighting for their votes.The meeting in Brussels gave me the hope that this is not so, and that someone at the highest level can really care about the poor.

I was really surprised by the hospitality and the interest in what we are experiencing, to an extent I hadn‘t expected, even in my boldest dreams. I had never experienced anything so magnificent.

I can say that this meeting was the kick-off start of a fundamental change in my life, the experience was also an encouragement for my immediate surroundings and also for staff in my organization.

I think that meetings like this here in Brussels are a tremendous encouragement for all participants and are also a great way to draw attention to the growing problem of poverty in countries that are considered rich.

I think that meetings like this here in Brussels are a tremendous encouragement for all participants and are also a great way to draw attention to the growing problem of poverty in countries that are considered rich.

I feel that this form of meeting is for us, ordinary people, more acceptable than it was at the last meeting, where I could not feel natural. I think that this is the path that the next meeting should take.


Last year, all national delegations presented messages to the EU Meeting – Here are a few:

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” Nelson Mandela

“What the expert knows, a person experiencing poverty feels.” Pirjo Lindgren

“Poverty is not inevitable – Let’s fight it together.” – from the French delegation

“Minimum income – my right to be always equal part of society.” – Sinolicka Trpkova

“Poverty and hunger have no country.” – from the German delegation

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is a task of justice.” from the Irish delegation

“Give a voice to the most deprived. they’re part of the solution, not the problem.” – from the Luxembourg delegation

“Poverty is like a punishment for a crime you didn’t commit!” Eli Khamarov – from the Norwegian delegation

“The situation of the poorest citizens should determine the development of our society.”Bronisław Geremek

“When you’re homeless and jobless, you are treated like nobody!” – from the Polish delegation

“Poverty is not an accident! It’s a political choice. Fight Poverty now to save Democracy and Freedom! Break the silence!” – from the Portuguese delegation

“Poverty is not a choice, it is a social condition. You can get out of it or overcome it with adequate support.” – from the UK delegation

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