Screening 'Slum Dog Millionaire' and discussion

October 17 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, between the hours of 16:00 and 20:00 (WAT), we gathered - as did many across the world - to mark the International Day for Eradication of Poverty. For us, #October17 provides a good opportunity to raise awareness on the extent of poverty in Nigeria and the world, (especially now that Nigeria has been named the ‘poverty capital of the world,’ with evidence suggesting that this status is being further cemented by the day). It was also an opportunity to further dismiss the myth that a poverty-free world is impossible, as many have been made to believe, and are so unable to imagine the possibility of - and take action towards ensuring - an end to poverty. I had the opportunity of moderating the leading panel (for the event) which featured two passionate people who have been working – for a while now – to help overcome poverty: Feyi Ijimakinwa is a broadcaster and a researcher at the Institute of African Studies, while Dr. Olukemi Aremu runs a foundation which currently cares for about 60 homeless children who live ‘under-bridge’ in the city of Ibadan. The discussion was centred on "Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty," which is the theme for the year.

The most striking point of the discussion, for me, is that poverty could either be situational or generational. People fall into the point at which access to basic needs becomes difficult not because they pray for it or because ‘they are weak and lazy,’ but because of circumstances and situations which too often than not are beyond their control. Once sunk into the vicious circle of poverty, there is then a great chance that they continue to sink deeper, to the point that it becomes transferable from one generation to another, unless there is a deliberate and concerted effort of rescue. Certain attitudes and addictions which may be observable among the poor – and which may sink them further into poverty – were identified as responses to valid aspirations which are not being fulfilled. It also became obvious from the discussion that the implications of the existence of poverty are burdens for the entire society, thereby making the responsibility for the overcoming of poverty a collective one for us all – as rich and poor, and as an indivisible human race.

Above all, yesterday was another day for us to remind ourselves the words of Nelson Mandela, that ‘wherever children, men and women are made to live in poverty, there is injustice.’ Recognizing the validity of the words of Marin Luther King Jnr., that ‘injustice anywhere is a treat to justice everywhere,’ the opportunity provided by the moment was thus used in charging everyone to give attention to working in every little way possible to eradicate poverty, and to building a social system that protects people from falling into poverty and gives opportunity of rescue to those who may fall into it, so that someday soon we can live #AllTogetherInDignity.

Special thanks to Donald Lee, Anne-Sylvie and the entire ATD Fourth World team, and to Leye Komolafe, Adedapo Treasure and all of the crew members at the Thursday Film Series, for the great work that you do towards the building of a more just, more humane, more democratic future. Together, I believe, we can retire the existence of poverty in our world into the annals of history.

A short video (put together by Tobi Richards) which is a short excerpt from the hour-long discussion – which was followed by a movie screening and a general discussion – has been shared on my youtube channel. You can find it here: https://youtu.be/vfiv93tvKgY

#October17 #EndPoverty #ZeroHunger #AllTogetherInDignity #AfricansRising #AfricaWeWant #WorldOfPeace