October 17th - Commemoration of the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty
This page is the result of reflections on poverty that have taken in place in SAOL over the last three months. Funded by the Department of Social Protection, it allowed the women of SAOL to reflect on how poverty impacts on our lives and how routes out of poverty are about more than increasing our bank balance (although extra money is always welcome, Minister!). We begin with pictures of the visit to the by Cristina Lim-Yuson, member of the International 17 October Committee, and is followed by the script of Lorraine Farrell's speech at the commemoration ceremony and then the lyrics of the song the SAOL Sister's sang at the event, "Hope for the Future". Following this is a series of poetry written by SAOL participants and staff (from all of our programmes) on topics relating to poverty but also including addiction and domestic violence. We hope that
18th October, 2012
We were visited by Cristina Lim-Yuson, a member of the International 17 October Committee and got a chance to hear about the wonderful work that ATD are doing in the Philippines and also share some of the work SAOL is doing as well. A morning together bridged the thousands of miles between Dublin and Manila; shared experiences, song and laughter helped make us immediate friends. The photo below might give some indication of the fun that was head - and SAOL's hand of friendship goes out to all the women and men in Manilla that we heard about today.
I grew up in institutions. I was supposed to be in the care of the HSE till the age of 18 but when I turned 12 I was on the street and had to look after myself. I hope things like that won’t continue to happen.
The children who are in care or who come out of care need to know that they are loved. It’s hard to find independence on your own and ground yourself.
As a society we can’t forget the children, those who are in care, those who are homeless – they are the next generation.
My goal is to do some kind of social studies and help kids between the teenage years and the time they want to settle down. I want to tell them, “Don’t have a family too young; don’t do drugs!”
I was part of the SAOL Project for 2 years. I see them here today and that is great! This group helped me a lot. With them I got my confidence back; I graduated from women’s studies and I learned a awful lot…I learned to be independent as a woman. It was a struggle at times but it was worth it in the end. What I learned when I was there, I carry it with me, I’ll never forget it.
Still, life continues to be tough and it becomes tougher and tougher because of the budget cuts. If people who are in the Government were living in our shoes for a week; if they were living on a disability allowance or on a social welfare payment, if they were homeless in a B&B and out on the streets for a day, how would they survive for that week? I bet their pocket would be empty at the end of the week, if not before!
I feel so sorry for the elderly and the disadvantaged people in any country but in our country too. I feel the need to step up and care for our neighbour; the need to turn towards to the person beside us and ask, “Are you ok?”
A terrible thing is to be ignored; another terrible thing is to be labelled. When you are labelled you feel degraded. Nobody in this world should be labelled. We are people, we are human beings and we have names.
Hope for the future
Born into poverty
It’s a role with no say
No escape - No relief
Barely making each day
The waiting the needing
The children need feeding
The begging and crying
The constantly pleading
In the world of today
No one should be starving
In this day and age
We’re living in hope
As bad as it seems
Through struggle and worries
We still have dreams
Leaders don’t care
With power and oil
Young lives they spoil
Famine and greed
Has ravaged the people
This modern disease
Our voices please heed
Hope for our future
Belief leads the way
Courage for our children
Strength for today
The poems below are written by the particpants of the SAOL Project - all of the different groups are represented here. For the purposes of confidentiality and safety, the names of poets have been removed. You know who you are - and you are brilliant.
I know I have a Guardian Angel, someone looking over me, someone holding my hand, someone just loving me
Sometimes life is hard and people just can’t be trusted, so you need someone or something, someone you can rely on
I know I have a Guardian Angel, she’s always there, but especially when I call on her, when I feel like I’m in despair. She lets me know I have an inner strength that I can use when things get tough, but just knowing she’s there can be strength enough
Love is Blind
Love is blind, so they say
I beg to differ, if I may
Cause I can sure see fine
But love is blind, so they say
I’ve been in love, ye see
And most of the time he was great with me
It didn’t take long for his true self to show
And it wasn’t very nice, believe me, I should know
He was a bastard every day of the week to me
And always knew how to make me feel low
Only God knows how I’m still alive
But I’ve great sisters and brothers at my side
Always there to help me, all five
Whenever I ran to my mother’s to hide
But it would never take long when he’d be outside
I’d hear that familiar beep
Oh how many times I would weep
How could my life be like this
And it all started from just 1 kiss
I should be out enjoying myself
Having fun, but all that I’ll miss
And why? Because of a kiss
Being a teenager wasn’t easy for me
Because alcohol surrounded me
All my friends were drinking it
But I just wasn’t into it
Then one day I found a taste
Of another substance that I really couldn’t waste
It was a brown powder on foil that I could chase
And I loved the feeling that that gave me
There were lots of paraphernalia involved
But that was half the buzz I loved
To get the foil together and everything fired up quick
Was nearly as good as the drug buzz itself
But little did I know
What this drug was doing to me
It took me over so quick
That I just couldn’t even see me anymore
Soon I was injecting + shit
And I started losing everything over this shit
I lost my home and family to it
Over the way I was behaving on it
It was so small a substance
And even its name, heroin, was growing old
‘Cos I destroyed my liver and body with Hepatitis C
But that’s nothing compared to the psychological damage it’s done to me
With this great substance that I thought I’d found
It ran my life into the ground
With homelessness, isolation and the violence involved
Hand on my heart I just should never have got involved
Drugs, drugs take us far away
Alcohol and tablets can do the same
Needing and looking for help today
Before we’re too bad and found down a lane.
Help is there but do I want it?
We go looking, make sure not to find
Give us some more drugs, just a small bit
We are all the same, just one of a kind
How much more and longer can we go on,
Hurting and robbing the ones that care
It’s like a riddle, it’s like a song
Will we stop or go elsewhere?
Projects, counsellors and clinics alike,
With the support and doors open wide
For help or for a clean spike,
Off to get stoned on the street side
Liars, robbers and just pure selfish!
That’s what addiction is to you all
Where we can’t see the foolish
But yes, others can and it’s off the wall.
The Concrete Jungle
The concrete setting says it all
That the road through had to change before the foreigners called
Beside the airport it had to go
The concrete jungle setting was too big and tall
CRASH! BANG! Came the buildings
We watched history fall and the lives that these buildings claimed
Good friends and all.
Now the taxi drives through it and the foreigners say,
“Oh God, would this be a nice place to stay?”
These days the people are so cold
No warmth in their eyes when they look at you
Only get out of my way or I’ll hit you
It really is true, the old days were the best,
People who lived then were blessed
We may think we have everything we need…
Wednesday again a cold damp day,
Sitting on the path with a bottle,
Why can’t it be Thursday? I pray,
Week to week, day to day.
All I can think about is my pay,
Sitting there begging as my bottle is empty
Hoping for Monday, hoping for plenty.
Wednesday again a warm but dull day,
As I sit in my flat waiting for pay,
A bottle I hold in my hand,
But for a different way to help me leave this land,
I can taste it on my lips, feel them numb,
Wishing for Thursday, God why won’t it come.
Wednesday, oh God, here we go again,
When will this stop? Please god when?
Lying in bed, I lay here so still,
Picturing it there, that small, little pill,
I say how I don’t need it but I haven’t the will,
How many times I’ve tried to stop,
But I need them to have that gap fulfilled,
To help the pain and agitation,
I just want the pills and no complications.
Thursday has come and I wake with a frown,
Bills to pay, people to see,
I won’t have a penny left on me,
And I waited all week for this like a clown.
Drink makes me late,
It makes me angry,
It makes me impatient,
It makes me happy,
It makes me fight,
It makes me nothing,
It makes me lazy,
It makes me isolated,
It makes me forgetful,
It makes me unpunctuated,
It makes me blocked,
It makes me cry,
It makes me unemployable,
It makes me not want to.
They say honesty is the best policy,
Me bollix - (‘and who are they anyway?’)
I can’t be honest; I can’t be truthful,
If I told ye the truth – it’d kill ye,
Shock ye; horrify ye;
You’d arrest me, throw away the key, lock me away,
You’d have to take out your brain and scrub it with carbolic soap to wash the images away,
If you knew the score, like me you’d have to score,
Honestly - no way - not today, nor any day.
The truth, the whole truth and nothing like the truth.
I’m innocent your honour and you can’t prove anything.
Case dismissed because of sparkling clean piss,
Everybody looking the other way, it’s recovery play
Shaky judgement, shaky hand, before you I stand,
Twisting the Knife
Hoping for a better life,
But others just dig in the knife,
Afraid that you’ll change for the good,
They’re nosey bastards in this neighbourhood,
They love to see you on your knees,
Begging them for help saying, “please, please”
They look down on you with sneers and grins,
Twisting that knife and digging it in,
Then comes the day you decide to change,
And they’re looking at you acting strange,
But you keep up the work,
And wait for the day,
When they bow their heads and walk away.
Turning to crime
when you haven't a dime
When you're all alone,
looking for a stone,
feeling like shite
can't afford a light
Nothing getting paid as the money goes on drugs
When reality shows you who are the mugs
Then before you know it you can't get any lower.
Where is my life gone?
How did I get here?
Suddenly that unwanted feeling comes - fear
Money got - hopefully without someone getting shot
Your drugs are there
Still no money to spare
And before you know it
Everything is bare
Up up go go hurry get me out I need money
Ducking and diving all sneaky and conniving
In and out of offices and shops
Getting what I need before I get caught
Then home to where and what
Ohhh shit I forgot
I DON'T HAVE A HOME...
Mary Lou, Mary Lou
Help me, what can I do?
I need somewhere to live
I feel like that old woman in a shoe...
It's a shame
It's a shame the way the world works,
families and children with poor health hurts
why is it nobody cares
the world should try to just share
If only we'd all open our eyes
then we'd see a big difference and surprise
not only could we help the needy
but make a big start to stop being greedy
It's a shame the way the world has gone
poverty homeless and jobless - that's wrong
So open your hearts and eyes to see
that the world we love is in poverty
Money Money Money
Money, money, money
It's not funny when it's not in your hand
The bills are paid but the next one delayed
It's not funny, it's all about money
The bills are unpaid
My son comes home
I'm on the phone
He wants to watch football
But I can do fuck all
Here we go
Another week of skrimp and save
What will I do for the dinner today
Eggs and chips or potatoes and cabbage
The pay cuts are savage
What will I say, what will I do
They are cutting my money
I'll have to make a stew
The kids are crying, they're wrecking my head
I know they are hungry, I know they're sad
Need some help, who can I call
It's going to have to be St. Vincent de Paul
‘Give me a ring a- ding-ding’,
thats all I get when I’m going out;
in the morning, going home, at lunch.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t,
But for now I just fucking won’t give you a ring a ding-ding,
All you do is make my life miserable,
but why do I go back ?
Never a frown with golden brown,
Always had my way and felt sound,
20 years of nightmares and tears,
Family life a slide that makes me stop
Learning to cope without the dope
Be aware of my dares and face my fears.
Never a frown without golden brown,
Only if I moan or show I’ve not grown,
Keeping it real and shed all my tears.
How did it start?
Sitting on a bench
In a public park
Having a laugh, thinking you’re smart
Getting out of your face with the bottle of gas
Moving on up a bit for a better hit
Taking pills and tripping to bits
Next add in the rest
Dope that gave me false hope
Codding and robbing the ones you love
Ripping and fucking the ones you could
Not to mention the first rave I went to
Full of E out of my gee
On the bottle smoking sack next
Am in the brothel looking for crack