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Young Europeans fighting poverty together

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By David Tempere Translated by Charlotte Van Calster On Sunday, October 17th 2010, a group of young Europeans launched a strong message against poverty at the Memorial for Victims of Poverty in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. In cooperation with Belgian organisation ATD Vierde Wereld, they call themselves Djynamo!

Coming from all over Europe, they had been working on getting their message out there for over a year. Cafebabel Brussels was curious about what exactly it is that they want to achieve and about what it is that makes them tick...

In the middle of the European district there’s a very warm and cosy, yet busy atmosphere. Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. From a stage, voices keep making one announcement after the other while only a little bit further away, a wind ensemble takes the manifesting mass on a lyrical journey to Eastern Europe. In between the various activities I met Sara Philips, Joris De Man en Evert Dierckx from Djynamo!

With this call, we want to put into words the every-day struggle young Europeans living in poverty have to go through,” Joris tells me. “We want everyone to know about these problems and in that way we hope to contribute to improving their living standards.

The importance of being communicative

From all over Europe they came, the young ones. So not only Belgians could be found in Brussels that Sunday, but also people from France, Luxemburg, Poland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great-Britain and Ireland. “Everyone has a very different background”, Sara says. “Some have to face difficult situations, while life is less hard on others. From that point of view we meet each other and bring these differences together. And that is why it was important for everyone to be able to participate in the dialogue. As this happened in different languages, it became an even more enriching experience. Also, countries often brought up their specific issues.

One of the most important conclusions? "Next to family and work, education appeared to be a rather popular subject. Most of the time these kids experience difficulties in school,” Sara says. “That is why we ask that education be adjusted to the pupils’ personality and that the pupils be treated with the respect they deserve. This is one of the main things the young Europeans will call for today.

Only the beginning

Even though Djynamo! has worked long and hard to make this day a success, today is only the beginning. Djynamo! hopes to reach as many people as possible and hopes to involve them in their activities. “We have been working very hard to get to today’s manifestation, but today certainly does not mean the end of it. Actually, we want to achieve the exact opposite effect. We want to go into dialogue with people and together, we want to see what can or what has to be changed. It’s not only politicians who need to hear our message. We want schools, teachers and everyone who is even remotely interested, to be involved in our search for solutions.

In the same week, a delegation of ATD Vierde Wereld went to Strasbourg where it handed over its call to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon (video of the interview). “It's important that our message is stated both on an international as well as on a local level,” Sara explains. “And in this matter, personal contact is key. We don’t want to just hand over a written text. We also want to show what is in it and what we are trying to say with it.

At the end of our conversation, Evert expresses this hopeful message: “everyone is equal and even in difficult circumstances it is possible for us all to live together."

Foto by Vladi Pino Amachi