paris food bank (2)Today, 17th October, marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This commemoration started in 1987 in Paris  when over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris to honour the victims of extreme poverty, following on the initiative of the organisation ATD Fourth World. 24 years later, this day is still a special day to acknowledge the importance of the fight against poverty internationally and in Europe, and to recognise that poverty is a violation of human rights.

That is why Eurodiaconia held this week its Marginalisation and Exclusion network, focusing on extreme poverty and food aid. The meeting took place in Paris and gathered 13 representatives from Eurodiaconia members in 6 countries. Members worked together to exchange best practices on how to address extreme poverty by providing paths toward sustainable inclusion programme. They insisted that the key to move from “emergency aid” to longer sustainable inclusion is often in relationships. These relationships, a renewal of social links, can take place in many forms such as cooking classes, languages courses, volunteering and other initiatives leaving space for expression and exchanges. It is often for members about investing time for trust building and experience sharing. Food banks can be this first necessary step toward inclusion or the last step in preventing individuals and families going further into marginalisation and exclusion.

As well as members presentations and group work, the meeting included briefings on the European policy and funding frameworks with  the participation of a European Commission representative who detailed the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). Finally, members visited a project in Paris providing bridges toward inclusion through language courses, a social grocery and social stores.