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Needs and contributions of older people highlighted at European Parliament

24 Oct 2012

Me (middle), with Agnes from HelpAge Kenya (left) and Mama Rhoda (right)I am Anka Tominšek, a representative of the Association of Retired People of Ljubljana, Slovenia. I am also a member of the group of older Age Demands Action (ADA) campaigners in Slovenia. 

I was very happy to be invited to represent our group of activists at a recent HelpAge event in Brussels at the European Parliament. The event was to call on the EU to include age-friendly approaches into their development cooperation programmes and activities. The meeting was co-chaired by two Members of the European Parliament, Mr Thijs Breman and Ms Jean Lambert.

Dedicated activists from Europe and Africa

At the meeting I met many interesting and dedicated people who have been involved with the ADA movement in Europe and in Africa. However, I was most impressed by meeting Mama Rhoda, an ADA activist from Kenya.

I'd seen her video messages before meeting her in person, but her calm, dignified demeanour and the incredible courage she displayed were an incredible sight to see!

I am glad that there are activists like Rhoda out there fighting for older people's rights in developing countries. They give me great hope that things may change for the better for older people around the world after all! I will make sure to stay in contact with her and will try and support her in her future activities.

Challenges of ageing recognised

I was also pleasantly surprised by the (hopefully not just verbal) support which the two co-chairs and the representatives of the EU Commission and the UNFPA showed for Age Demands Action.

They proved to be quite aware and familiar with various issues related to the challenges of population ageing. They also showed interest in our messages about the struggles and contributions of older people in developing countries.

Lastly, I was very much impressed by the commitment of other ADA activists I met at the event and especially by our two young hosts, Barbara and Ellen from HelpAge International. They showed great modesty and competence and I would like to thank them for the great organisation of the event!

Turning words into action!

The only thing that bothered me somewhat is how many resources are needed for such events to influence the situation of older people. I wish there was a way of delivering every bit of the funds available directly to them!

I hope that all the support expressed at the event materialises and brings the necessary attention to older people's needs. I also hope that their potential to contribute to the development of their countries is recognised. This would be a true victory for all of us!

Find out more about the HelpAge event at the European Parliament.

Read more about our Age Demands Action campaign in Europe.

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Author profile

Anka Tominek
Country: Slovenia

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.