The 2014 theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this October 17 is Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty. On a local scale in Greater Victoria we have children who go hungry, families who don’t have homes, and vulnerable people who struggle to find employment.

United Way and our funded community partners work hard to address the root causes of social issues that affect poverty in our region. Thanks to support from over 11,500 donors and 400 workplaces, we fund a network of community services and programs that bring inspiration, hope and opportunity to those moving from poverty to possibility in our neighbourhoods.

In 2002, the United Nations (UN) began developing the Millennium Development Goals for the eradication of poverty. Here is a sample of some of the goals and how they connect to a few examples of local programs we fund. Together let’s end poverty!

UN Goal: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015

How does United Way help? We fund the Respectful Relationships program through the SWOVA Community Development and Research Society.

This program works with youth age 12 to 18 within School District 64 of the Southern Gulf Islands to gain skills to build positive relationships based on equality, respect and mutual support. Each youth participates in 12 workshops exploring ways to resolve conflict peacefully and build social and emotional intelligence for media literacy, social justice and empathy. Bullying, cyber-bullying, racism, sexism, homophobia and violence prevention are also addressed.

UN Goal: Achieve universal primary education

Target: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

How does United Way help? We fund the Enable Program for Children and Youth program through the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society.

This program provides social, academic and emotional support to newcomer children, youth and their families. Through group social activities, one-on-one academic help, art therapy groups and individualized action-planning, Enable helps newcomers feel empowered and included. The program also engages volunteers, community members and community partners to create a more inclusive community for everyone.

UN Goal: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

One of the targets: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

How does United Way help? We fund the Retail Training Certificate program through the Beacon Community Services Association.

This program is based on a unique collaboration between business and community that provides employment training for hard to employ people. The program provides an eight-week employment skills training session that supports individuals’ mental health wellness and the development of employment skills in an existing retail thrift shop setting.

UN Goal: Combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases

Targets:

  • Halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the spread of HIV/Aids
  • Achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/Aids, for all who need it

How does United Way help? We fund the Access Possibilities program through AIDS Vancouver Island.

This program provides coordinated individual and group support options for people living with, or at risk for, HIV and/or hepatitis C. Participants build a network of support unique to their individual needs through drop-in services, nutritional support, counselling, case management and group learning opportunities.

For a complete list of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, please visit: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml