Can we start the change?

A black & white photo of a person laying under a cardboard box on the streets

Let’s talk about challenges. Let’s talk about poverty, because combating poverty was and is one of the hardest challenges in society. According to the latest information we have from the European Commission, in 2017, 112.9 million people, or 22.5% of the population, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

What do you think about if I ask you what moves the world? I’m sure that more than 50 per cent of you are thinking about the word 'money'.

What do you think about if I ask you what moves the world? I’m sure that more than 50 per cent of you are thinking about the word 'money'. Because what do we need to have a dignified life? Humans have needs, and most of them are influenced by money. Could we have a home without money? Could we have clothes? Food? Water? Sanitary stuff? Medicines? Obviously, these things are essential for human beings, and unfortunately, not everyone has them.

This fact, multiplied many times, brings with it the problem of social exclusion, which impacts a person or a group’s ability to participate in social, economic, political and cultural life and their relationships with others, so they often don’t have the chance for integration. We are talking about an important fact, inasmuch as we know that at least 20 million people are at risk of social exclusion.

Even, with a less tragic approach, if we think about the normal life of a young person, we easily can know and imagine how bad it can be as an adolescent, sitting at home because he can’t go out to have a coffee with friends or go to the cinema on Saturday. Probably you know a person in this situation, especially after the financial crisis of 2008 that exposed the unsustainable fiscal policies of countries in Europe and around the globe. This crisis caused, among other things, depressed economic growth and rapidly rising unemployment. Of course, the crisis has harmed the well-being of numerous citizens, but usually poor people are more vulnerable to failures in the financial system.

A piece of street art

If we look the figures I mentioned before, we can see that something is not working in the European Union in how it is combating poverty and social exclusion. The European Union has created and strategy to reduce poverty: Europe 2020, which aims, by 2020, that the number of Europeans living below the national poverty lines should be reduced by 25%, lifting over 20 million people out of poverty. The three proposals were ‘’smart growth’’, that consists of fostering knowledge, innovation, education and digital society; ‘’sustainable growth’’ to make us more resource-efficient while boosting our competitiveness; and ‘’inclusive growth’’, raising participation in the labour market, the acquisition of skills and the fight against poverty.

Although it seems impossible, we can do things to help too, especially us, the European youth. We can participate in the initiative of European Solidarity Corps that is a platform to volunteer or work for those between the ages of 18 and 30, and by participating in different projects in our countries or abroad, doing what we can to help or benefit people around Europe.

Changes are difficult, slow, and mostly not in our hands, but if you feel that something has to change, you can be the person to start it. A little bit of help can have a big impact on other people, so don’t give up! We can’t do it alone, but we can start fighting for our human rights! You will be surprised at all the things you can do with your little acts.

About me: I’m 24 years old and I’m from the north of Spain. I believe in human rights and equality, so I studied a Law Degree. After learning and experiencing life and how rights are being not respected in some places of the world, I started fighting for them and for people to have their own. For all of that, I did volunteering in Bulgaria. It’s finnished now, but a lot of new experiences are coming: we are a seed that will continue growing.

Children and young people are one of Europe’s greatest assets. For the European Parliament elections in May, Voices of Youth ran a special blogging series to ensure that the opinions and voices of children and young people were heard during the elections and by incoming European politicians.