Caritas, a global organisation dedicated to poverty eradication, reaffirmed its commitment to providing hope and relief to those in need on Sunday when the Catholic Church marked the International Day for Poverty.

In a statement, Caritas Malta said that the definition of poverty, as articulated by Pope John XXIII, encompasses the right to life, bodily integrity, and essential means for proper development, including food, shelter, and medical care.

Poverty takes various forms globally, affecting individuals and communities by depriving them of basic necessities such as food, shelter, education, and peace. The disparity in wealth distribution contributes to this issue, perpetuating societal perceptions and judgments that hinder individuals from seeking help. The stretched middle class is increasingly experiencing poverty due to inflation and economic crises, leading to difficulties in making ends meet and becoming homeowners.

Mental health issues add complexity to poverty, with individuals facing not only financial struggles but also exclusion from mainstream society. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the modern form of social poverty resulting from the absence of face-to-face interactions, despite increased digital connectivity. Balancing online and offline social lives is crucial for overall well-being.

To address these challenges, Caritas proposes key strategies: fostering empathy by volunteering and challenging the stigma around mental health, reimagining the economic model to truly prioritize people, and considering the environment’s role in poverty eradication.

Despite the long road ahead, the call is for collective action to create a healthier, happier, and more equitable society, ultimately leading to the eradication of poverty, the organisation said, as it reiterated that it remains committed to advocating for those in need and working towards a world without poverty.