29 Apr

Real empowerment comes from a real idea of equality

“We have to find ways to build meaning for people if they are going to have success in life.”

From 28th April to 2nd May ATD in the United States will be sharing the thoughts of members and friends on questions relating to empowerment.


The week of April 28th, ATD is running a US campaign on Facebook and Twitter called #Unheard Voices. It will bring the experiences of people in poverty to the forefront, even if just for a short time.

If it’s going to be a success, ATD needs your help.

All through the week US ATD volunteers will be posting images and quotes hoping to introduce them to a wider audience.

To help, you can share some of the images, forward the event to friends and family – your support is key to making this week a success.

“The greatest suffering is knowing you are so unimportant that even your suffering is ignored.”                                                  Joseph Wresinski, founder ATD Fourth World

Stay tuned with #‎unheardvoices, and check out the Facebook page of ATD in the USA  to learn more!

28 Apr

Working together to design and build a Europe without poverty and exclusion


At a time when many European citizens are asking challenging questions about Europe, a group of people living in a situation of poverty and social exclusion set out to gain a better understanding of what Europe is doing to ensure that life improves for the most vulnerable members of society.

Over several months, they worked in partnership with others who were prepared to stand in solidarity with them, including people who held positions of responsibility at the European level.

Centring their discussions around contributions based on the life experiences of people living in poverty, they prepared themselves in order to be able to enter into dialogue with European members of Parliament and officials.

On 5 March 2014, at the ATD European People’s University, held in the European  Parliament in Brussels, they were given the opportunity to do so. This remarkable meeting, which was attended by 17 delegations from 10 different countries, was organised with the support of the Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Parliamentary Intergroup.

The meeting made it possible to build bridges between people who would not normally meet one another. They were able to think and talk together and to draft proposals designed to ensure that the eradication of extreme poverty and the fight against inequality are at the heart of the European project.

Read a summary of the proposals

Download the full 8-pages document with detailed proposals

As a member of EAPN Ireland, ATD Ireland supports also the EAPN call to candidates!



26 Apr

In Bangui: Taking On Our Own Responsability

ATD latest update on the Central African Republic is a great summary of everything going on with our team there right now – please read and share to spread the news!

So much has changed over the past year in the Central African Republic. Last March the government was overthrown and since December a new round of conflict and uncertainty has affected millions of lives. But what does this mean for the daily struggles of ordinary people?


.For Gertrude, a friend of ATD Fourth World, it means that she has to travel greater distances to run her small business. Most of the Muslims have fled Bangui, and with them a large part of the city’s economy. Many of Bangui’s Muslims worked as middlemen, importing goods from abroad, and now in their absence Gertrude has to go to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to buy goods to sell. It means she earns less on what she sells – everything is more expensive in DRC, and she has to count the cost of travel there and back in her calculations as well.

There is a growing weariness among the population. An inter-religious prayer meeting was held recently at the main basketball stadium, with appearances from members of every religious faith and denomination in Bangui, the minister of communication and national reconciliation, as well as members of armed groups. Boris attended and remarked that it was the first time in over a year that he had been in such a large group.

At the ATD Courtyard, where friends of ATD Fourth World are still staying until they can return home, our team is doing their best to move along with the plans they had made for this year before the beginning of the latest round of violence. Every Sunday is “Cine Savoir” – a film series. There have been films from all over the world, but one from South Africa was particularly touching, with the audience remarking afterwards that this was the kind of film Central Africa needed – something to help people visualize their country and see it in a positive light.

Street Libraries are ongoing as well. The young trainers, some of them interns with the ATD Fourth World team, some of them long-time friends and allies, continue to bring books and art activities to the refugee camp at the airport. They also work to help new arrivals in the camp get oriented and to find their way around. The Street Library there has become a kind of reference point for everyone in the camp. An Open House day in February let them introduce the work of ATD Fourth World to a new audience.

Some schools have restarted, and the Tapori team has been visiting classes around the city.

And in the background, the violence continues with no clear end in sight. Talking recently with Jean-Claude at the ATD Courtyard, someone mentioned a young man who had died recently, shot by a stray bullet at just 14 years of age. No one knew him, but they began to wonder about his life. He was born in 2000 – did he get all his vaccines? In 2006 did he go to school? Did he get along well there? Or were there lost years because of conflict? In 2008 did he go with the saraguinas who were blocking the roads, or did he work unofficially? In 2012 did he join the Seleka to go “pick up” something? In 2013 did he join the Anti-Balaka to try and get by? And the bullet that killed him – who was it really meant for?

“Just like that,” our team in Bangui wrote, “the years in the life of this child seemed the only way to understand today’s situation. If we put it in the context of these years, of the fight of this child to get by and survive with what he had, we stop looking for who is guilty or who will save us: we take on our own responsibility.”

09 Apr

Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind


“Even in extreme poverty, a person has ideas. If these ideas aren’t recognized, people fall even deeper into poverty.”
Research participant from Burkina Faso

“There is plenty of aid here, but they give it out without knowing who are the worst off, so the poorest are often not aided at all. This aid creates jealousy, divides our community, and ends up isolating the poorest even
more and worsening their situation.”
Research participant from Senegal


The result of ATD’s participatory research on the Millennium Development Goals, Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind, brings the voices of people in poverty to the sustainable development debate. The result of years of participatory research with over 2,000 participants from over 20 countries, a majority of whom came from a background of poverty or extreme poverty, this report brings a unique voice to the global debate on international development.

The process of assessing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was a unique opportunity to bring the voices of people in poverty to the forefront. This is why we launched our own participatory research project to assess the MDGs. Twelve of the countries in which we have an active presence were deeply involved in the project: Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritius, Peru, the Philippines and Poland.

In each of the 12 countries, our teams organized meetings with people living in poverty and extreme poverty. These dialogues were grounded in mutual trust built over years of working together. The participants met and discussed development issues in weekly or monthly meetings. For six months to two years, depending on the country, the participants gained experience voicing their concerns and built collective knowledge.

The result is an analysis of the MDGs from the perspective of those they were intended to benefit. The report includes a series of critiques brought out by our research and concludes with 5 recommendations for the post-2015 development priorities. The full report and executive summary are available for download.

“The very fact that no one in situations of extreme poverty was in the room to help think about how to design the MDGs made it almost a given that many of the worst-off people living in poverty would be the ones left behind, again,” writes Isabelle Perrin, Director General of International Movement ATD Fourth World in the forward to the report. “This is why ATD Fourth World undertook an evaluation of the MDGs together with 2,000 people, a majority of whom live in poverty or extreme poverty. Their voices, shared in this report, offer insight and guidance for better approaches to post-2015 development.”