European Anti-Poverty Network – Making a Difference, Changing Life

Poverty: the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Poverty is clearly seen around the world; however the European Anti-Poverty Network is a strong force in changing this condition in the EU, improving the lives of those who suffer at its hands. The European Anti-Poverty Network has a full grasp of poverty’s meaning, and is fighting to remove it from society in order to give those in need a better quality of life. There are several key factors that make a person at risk to be defined as living in poverty, however most could not fathom that it would exist in a region such as the EU.

EAPN Working to Eradicate Poverty and Advocate for Those in Need

In the EU, poverty is of great concern no matter the form, absolute or relative. Absolute equates to those people lacking for the basic needs simply to survive, proper housing, sufficient clothing, nutrition, medicines. While relative equates to those that do not have the ability to live a normal quality of life simply because their income or education does not allow it.

A few of the key factors leading to an impoverished condition include unemployment or low-paying jobs, little education and skill, family types such as single parent households or larger families, women who tend to earn a lesser income, disabilities and health issues, immigrants and those living in disadvantaged communities are amongst the major key players leading to an impoverished condition. The EAPN is working to change those conditions and ensure the risks are eliminated.

EAPN Educates

Being at the helm of eradicating poverty, the EAPN has seen great strides when it comes to eliminating the stereotypes, raising awareness and combatting social exclusion where individuals are denied various rights, opportunities or resources that are readily available to those in a different socioeconomic status. Observance of human rights to all people despite their economic condition is a priority within the EAPN.

Addressing poverty issues at the core, raising public awareness, solid working partnerships, are pertinent to their cause and they utilize every resource possible. Tackling poverty and social exclusion require strategic planning of which the EAPN has in place, and is working to make the difference. Education plays a large role in this organization as they are enlightening people as a whole to understand the causes of poverty along with its serious consequences.

The Impact of Poverty on People and Families

Beings most do not fully understand the impact poverty has on people, families, the EAPN educates on how the circumstance highly affects not only the struggle to survive day-to-day, but how it affects a person’s overall health both physically and mentally. The organization does so by being the advocate, the voice against social injustice and the right to dignity.

Lobbying for the people does not only mean becoming that voice, or educating the public and government on how poverty is created and its harsh impact, it also means engaging the people who suffer. Assisting in national decision making, being a part of the process holds a greater impact for the cause. Helping to lobby for more effective policies, telling their stories, and the organizations involved seeing and hearing first hand by those affected, help guide the strategy on this war in the right direction. EAPN’s General Assembly provides the overall direction followed up by its Executive Committee and Bureau. Bringing together 31 anti-poverty networks working together to bring solutions, making the difference in the lives of the people.

The results of the European Anti-Poverty Network

Of course, changing lives has been the greatest result thus far, showing abundant signs of recovery. Structural reforms, strategic plans have proven evident results, focusing on skills and equal opportunity along with fair working conditions and supporting wage growth, the priorities of the EAPN remain unmoved.

  • New articles in the EU Treaties which are a set of international treaties between the European Union which have been developed and amended to the development of Social Protection.
  • Development of the EU Inclusion Strategy which pertains to Social Protection and Social Strategy including support and progress.
  • Adoption of the Partnership Principle in Structural Funds and ensuring this principle is implemented.
  • An increase in participation of impoverished people being recognized in the annual European of Meetings of People Experiencing Poverty.
  • 2010 being uniquely designated as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
  • Adopting and designed a European headline designated to reduce poverty in a what is called a Europe 2020 Strategy, an agenda for growth and employment which includes educational opportunity. This strategy overcomes structural weakness and helps to create a sustainable social economy.

These are just to name a few of the great strides the EAPN has made. They continue to change lives, break barriers, inspire the world, and make a vast difference.

The Importance of Reading and Writing – Literacy in Europe

The issue of Literacy or the lack there of remains to be an issue in Europe despite the fact that in the last couple of centuries there have been huge improvements in the amount of people who are able to read and write. But the issue with those who either can’t read or write at all, or do it very poorly is that today is a society where reading is the foundation for learning as most learning resources are written. Not being able to read correctly in the modern age means not learning many skills needed for work, and day to day living as it is expected that everyone know how to read and write in the modern age.

Problems Illiteracy Creates

There are many problems that illiteracy creates many of them economic. Those that don’t read and write well often can’t get high paying skilled jobs and thus won’t be paid much; this in turn leads to people working but still living in poverty. But unemployment is related to those who don’t read and write well as they are less likely to get jobs due to there being fewer jobs that the person will be able to perform properly. For those that are working but having trouble reading or writing this means that they have to rely on their co-workers who can read and write better than them to help them often times. This leads to less productivity, and thus less money being made by the company per hour, leading to less growth in the economy. There are also work related injury statistics related to those that don’t read well-being higher as they often aren’t able to read the safety instructions for the job.

Beyond Recognition

With today’s economy there are less low skilled jobs that one can get away unnoticed that they can’t read properly which is leading to more unemployment for those that can’t read properly. For those reasons governments all across Europe have created programs for those children to adults to help them get free help, and resources in order to get more people up to par with their reading, and writing skills. The generations that are most affected by the problem of illiteracy are the older generations as the younger generations have significantly less problems with reading and writing which is good news for the future. But the generations having problems aren’t just those that should be retired they are those in their early forties and up meaning they should be in the work force for much longer, and if they haven’t saved for retirement it means they will either have to work forever, or stay in poverty most of the time both.

Illiteracy in immigration

For those that immigrate for other poorer countries outside of Europe there is a higher chance for them to struggle with the language of the country they moved to including both reading and writing. With huge influxes of immigrants moving to Europe every year this poses a huge problem as while Europe as a whole knows how to read and write pretty well this changes things. Some of the countries globally are facing huge illiteracy problems to the point that only one third of the country may know how to read and write and that is in their native language. To combat this problem there have been programs designed to help those that are not just learning to speak a new language but how to read, and write it as well. These programs focus on skills for employment as well as that is important to the economy in Europe but also for the immigration process as well. Overall in a modern age where reading is essential illiteracy will remain a problem until everyone can read, and write.

Unemployment in Europe

Unemployment in the countries of Europe varies greatly depending on the country but on average Europe’s unemployment rate is about eight percent. Over the past couple of years southern Europe has seen the most improvement in reducing the employment rate. For example Portugal has the lowest employment rate in thirteen years which is a huge achievement for the country defiantly something to be proud of. On the other end of the spectrum there is Greece which has the highest unemployment in all of Europe with twenty percent of Greece being unemployed. Naturally for all countries unemployment is a problem which is why some countries are putting more effort into programs that allow people to get education, and training for jobs as an attempt to reduce the rate of unemployment in Europe.

What the Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Measure?

But there is another problem with unemployment measures for Europe it just takes into consideration those that are currently out of work completely not those that are severely underemployed, and in those situations that individual is often just as reliant on the government as an unemployed individual. The economy has seen growth, people are getting more jobs so the unemployment rate is going down which is a huge reason to be pleased while focusing on who are still unemployed. Everyone needs a job to support their family, and themselves but everyone needs a job(s) that will allow them to be self- sufficient. The new economy is one where most work is part time meaning one job isn’t going to be enough for most people.

Costs of Living

The cost of living in on the rise making it even harder to live on a meager income to begin with; but for those that get motivated to find the right part time jobs they may end up better off despite there being no benefit packages, often no paid vacation, and luxuries the older generations took for granted as it was normal during their time. So while the unemployed need to be trained, and need to find work the severely underemployed need that same opportunity as they are not self- sufficient which is the entire point of a job. This is where the unemployment statistics fail because it’s not a measure of poverty just of those that are out of all types of work.

Anti-Semitism in Europe Today

Anti- Semitism is Europe was at its highest during the days of Hitler something that no one will forget as it was a hideous tragedy in European history. Since that time things have come a long way in the form of tolerance, or so it seemed. The question today is- are those feelings of hate arising again? In countries like France Jews are getting murdered, synagogues attacked causing many Jews to be concerned for their safety often moving out of the countries in which this is the highest. But on the down side some see the immigration due to fear possibly only making matters worse and bringing out anti- Semitic views to the surface where they were once hidden.

Increasing Anti- Semitic Incidents

In response to the attacks on Jews countries all across Europe have spoken out making it clear that any hate crimes against Jews or anyone else won’t be tolerated. This is bringing the problem to attention in the form of the news in many of these European countries causing more people to stand up and say that these actions are not ok. That is great news that it seems through polls taken that right now those that have anti- Semitic views are actually a very small portion of the population in Europe. But what many experts fear is that people are simply hiding their bias and true feelings in the light of governments standing up for tolerance and supporting the Jewish people. Thus many feel that when the violence ends the anti- Semitic views will simply return. This isn’t to say that Europe hasn’t come a long way as it has in history but the Jewish people should not feel threatened, or that they have to hide being Jewish in their day to day life. Nor should they fear attacks from people even if it is a small portion of the community that both feels that way, and acts out against the Jewish people.

Focus

Right now the governments must first focus on assuring the Jewish that they are safe and do not have to worry about history repeating itself, or being attacked in any way over their faith. But it can’t end there as there have to be movements to change the attitudes of people to the point no one has to live in fear or experience bias for being Jewish. Only when attitudes change will the violence cease to exist in these European countries. By making an effort for everyone to understand one another and see each other as people, and respect each other for their choice of faith like with everything else peace can start to happen. Many problems people have said in polls that they had towards the Jewish is that they felt the Jewish people believe they are better than everyone else which is a common theme for anyone with anti- Semitic views. That topic is something that should be discussed in order to have it set straight so people can move on instead of moving to violence where they shouldn’t be any.