Today, as we celebrate World Social Justice Day, I invite you to take part in an imagination and reflection exercise. Please think about when and where you were last on vacation or when you last bought clothes or shoes.
There are people in Romania who have never went on a vacation in their life. There are elderly people who do not go to the doctor because they know that they wouldn’t be able to afford the recommended medicine, there are people with disabilities who cannot go to work because they do not have the means to do so, and even if they have them, the money they would earn would be insufficient for maintenance and transportation. There are, in Romania, in 2019, children who cannot go to school because they do not have adequate clothes for winter, there are children who stay in makeshift homes, who do their homework with the light of a candle or go to bed hungry, because their families cannot afford to provide them with better conditions.
According to a World Bank study published last year, about 5.7% of Romanians live on $ 1.9 per day. The equivalent is about 7 lei. Moreover, according to Eurostat, almost half of Romanians are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in various forms. Things are much worse if we turn our attention to children. According to a study by World Vision Romania, there are Romanian children who only sometimes eat two meals a day. What is even worse is that 9% of the children in our country go to bed hungry, and for another 8%, the food they have available is only occasional or never enough.
Social injustice is everywhere around us. This is the effect of social change in recent years. Beyond finding the guilty, our role is to make things right. Romania cannot afford to sacrifice more generations. Instead, we can try to build laws to support those in vulnerable situations.
Together we can offer a number of benefits to people in these situations, such as access to medical services and to education for children without IDs. We are the ones who can make the difference. I invite you, dear colleagues, to think about the impact of these actions that are so easy for us to make and that do not cost us anything!