BANGALORE: Millions of people from all walks of life yesterday raised their voice against poverty and took a pledge to eradicate it. As part of a joint initiative between the Art of Living and United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), the former mobilised over 7 million people across the globe to support UMNC’s Stand Up & Speak Out against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The international NGO founded by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar organised several public events in over 100 countries for people to come together and take a pledge in support of the eradication of extreme poverty and to ensure the achievement of MDGs by the world community.
Sri Sri himself led a huge gathering in taking a pledge to eradicate poverty at an event held at the Art of Living International Centre in Bangalore. In his address, Sri Sri Ravi urged those present to be a source of light to those in darkness and help them stand on their own feet.
“In the ancient ideals of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world is one family and if one member of the family is not happy, it will affect the whole family. If we all stand together, we don’t have to wait till 2015 to realise MDGs,”he said.
“To eradicate poverty, we need two things: instil self esteem in people and bring sincerity on the part of the government. Both need to go together,” he added.
Lauding the commitment of the Art of Living against poverty, Minar Pimple, Deputy Director-Asia, UNMC, said he was inspired by the Art of Living’s efforts to mobilise people against poverty even in faraway places.
“I am drawn to Sri Sri because he inspires people to serve with a sense of happiness. We don’t want social workers with long faces,” he said.
Similar Stand Up events were being held all over the world, from the busiest square in the world, New York’s Times Square to the smallest school in the tsunami-struck Ache province in Indonesia.
In New Delhi, the Art of Living organised a gathering on the Parliament Street where over 40,000 people took the pledge. It also facilitated another unique event where over 10,000 inmates of Tihar Jail raised their voice against poverty.
In all STAND UP events, participants will stand up for two minutes and take a pledge to defeat extreme poverty.