In one of the biggest events ever-organised world wide on one day, millions of people came together in South Africa and around the world to pledge their support to fight poverty and inequality in the world.
Millions of ordinary people, politicians, celebrities, workers and youth stood up for a few minutes and took a universal pledge on 17 October to defeat extreme poverty and to remind world leaders of their promise of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The participants stood up to urge the rich countries to keep their promises of; better and more aid, debt cancellation and fair trade, and the poorer countries to make it their responsibility to save the lives of the poorest citizens.
SThe initiative, an international campaign called ‘Stand Up to be Counted and Speak Out to be Heard’ was organised by the United Nations and was driven by the Art of Living Foundation in South Africa. Locally, Art of Living teamed up with community organisations like Satyagraha, the Lenny Naidu Development Institute, Krishna Rabilall Foundation, the Teachers Centre and the Chatsworth Youth Centre to ensure its success.
In schools, factories and malls throughout South Africa, events were organised, where for a few minutes everyone assembled, stood up with their hands raised in the air – as they took the pledge to support the campaign. According to the Guinness Book of Records over 200 thousand people converged at 315 events in South Africa to take the pledge, while worldwide in 127 countries, 43.7 million people participated in the campaign setting a new world record for the number of people coming together on one day to be counted.
The idea of the campaign was well summed up by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from the Art of Living Foundation when he said, “All the nations of the world have come together and have set up the Eight Millennium Development Goals, and it will remain just a dream if we don’t stand up and participate. We all have to join together to eradicate poverty, to bring primary education, health, hygiene, care for the environment and make this world a more beautiful place to be in.”
Stand Up Pledge
This is a copy of the Stand Up Pledge that was read by every participant to Make Poverty History. The idea of the pledge is to educate and reinforce the message that we must all work together to fight poverty. You to can use this pledge to commit yourself and others to fighting poverty and equality in the world.
We are standing now with millions around the world on this symbolic day, the
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, to show our commitment to
the fight against poverty and inequality.
We are standing because we refuse to accept more excuses in a world where
50,000 people die every day as a result of extreme poverty and the gap
between rich and poor is getting wider.
We are standing because we want our leaders to honour their promises to
meet the Millennium Development Goals – and we ask them to exceed these
We join in solidarity with people from over 100 countries to SPEAK OUT and
To the leaders of the wealthy countries –
We urge you to keep your promises on poverty – debt cancellation, more and
better aid, trade justice and gender equality.
To the leaders of poorer countries – make it your first responsibility to save
the lives of your poorest citizens. We ask you to tackle inequality, to be
accountable to your people, to govern fairly and justly, to fight corruption
and to fulfill human rights.
Today, and every day, we will stand up and speak out against poverty. We
will continue the fight against poverty and inequality and to hold our leaders
to their promises.
We are asking not for charity but for justice. We are millions of voices
standing in solidarity to say, no more excuses – make poverty history now.