Reflections on the Commission for Social Development

“Following the proceedings of the sessions, hopping from one side event to another, and coming together and sharing views, ideas, learning and insights was indeed an undertaking! This year’s theme, “Promoting Empowerment of People to Achieve the Goals of Social Development” is at the heart of the Salvatorian Sisters’ mission, and I thought of all of them.
Growing up in the Philippines, I quickly learned that there is nothing natural or pre-ordained about poverty, be it material or non-material poverty. In my country politics often colludes with multinational businesses; landless farmers are among the hungriest; indigenous peoples–dispossessed of their mineral-rich ancestral territories by “development projects”–are forced to take on dirty, demeaning and dangerous jobs in the cities; abused women and children are stripped of their dignity and not given justice due to the weak laws of the country.

Empowering people, building their capacity, placing them at the starting point of every development effort, and creating an enabling environment will result in renewed trust and collaboration. They say that for the impoverished, the most important needs are opportunities, but how can we bridge the gap between the marginalized groups of people and the resourceful groups of society? Empowerment is the key. Most of all, governments need to develop policies that equip people with the good health, education, skills and social protection they need to participate effectively in development and obtain decent jobs.

I have a strong conviction that no security, peace, or development is possible as long as people remain slaves of material and non-material poverty and injustice. Empowerment of the people should be a passion for every human being on earth; it pays off. Spirituality is abundant and robust when we can pray as well as mobilize resources to empower the people.”
–Eloisa Holdiem SDS