About 50 people attended a community forum in Cornwall on November 19, including local city councillors, the Medical Officer of Health, teachers and ten students from St Lawrence Intermediate School. The students had participated in a Poem Contest on “Life without Poverty” held in October sponsored by the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area.

Two students read out their very touching poems about what life would be like without poverty.

Two low income women living in Cornwall also prepared poems about how they experience poverty, reading one in English and the other in French (see excerpts below).

A video with interviews of local leaders and people living in poverty was shown during the first networking half hour. “Voices for Change” is a video prepared by two community college students during their placement with Social Development Council.

Marvyn Novick with the Social Planning Network of Ontario, a partner in the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, spoke for an hour, covering all aspects of the Blueprint and a discussion followed for half an hour.

Questions ranged from what can people do at a local level to the role of the federal government in poverty reduction. It was recognized that a comprehensive approach is required and that “patchy solutions” can be more harmful than helpful.

Excerpt from Misconceptions of Poverty by:Helene Paquin (Mother of 3, Grandmother of 2)

It’s time for a reality check people, remember there are a lot less fortunate people out there as you are all cashing in on your pay cheques.

Check out my wish list. See, if you agree, as I begin to count 1,2,3…:

  1. I want all of God’s children young & old to be fed. Not going to bed hungry.
  2. Being able to afford to buy and take their daily meds
  3. For everyone to have affordable housing and a roof over their heads
  4. For everyone to have decent clothes on their bodies, covering them from their heads to their toes
  5. Affordable and reliable daycare for all to share
  6. A warm bed to sleep in , Not having to sleep in some make shift bed and having a pillow for their head,
  7. A chance to learn a new skill or to get affordable education for a job or skill that is worth having, that would cover all their costs.
  8. Not having to worry about yourself and family after hearing that someone else has been found dead, after a long and cold winters night.

Une lueure d’espoir

Aujourd’hui c’est une lueure d’espoir que nous avons dans les yeux et le coeur.

Car nous avons enfin l’espoir d’un avenir prometteur

Un avenir ou nous aurions tous le droit et ou nous pourrions tous manger a notre faim, ou nous pourrions tous être au chauds la nuit comme le jour et ou nous pourrions tous être en santer.

Un avenir dans lequel, lorqu’un enfant nous demanderais

“Quest-ce que la pauvreter?”

Nous pourrions tous répondre en cœur avec un immense sourire

“La pauvreter nous l’avons vaincue, c’est maintenant chose du passer.”

Le premier pas vers cet avenir prometteur est fait et c’est ensemble que nous ferons les autres.

-Écrit par Mélanie Dazé , mère de trois enfants vivants dans la pauvreter.