25 Jun

A Working Framework for 2030: Draft of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the Post 2015 Agenda

Early in June the UN Open Working Group has released a Draft of the Universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs could be adopted in 2015 by the international community at the UN and be the so-called Post 2015 Agenda to make poverty history in 2030.

The working document is expected to be revised over the coming weeks, and the report’s release is expected in September.

Below are examples of the proposed SDGs to be attained by 2030:

  • End extreme poverty in all its forms everywhere: by 2030, eradicate extreme poverty by bringing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to zero (Section 1.1), end hunger, achieve food security and adequate nutrition for all, and promote sustainable agriculture,…
  • Attain healthy life for all at all ages
  • Provide equitable and inclusive quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all: by 2030 ensure that people in vulnerable situations and marginalized people including persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples have access to inclusive education, skills development and vocational training aligned with labour market needs (Section 4.6)
  • Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere
  • Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world
  • Ensure access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable modern energy services for all
  • Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Promote actions at all levels to address climate change
  • Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions: Forge unity in diversity through democratic practices and mechanisms at the local, national and international levels (Section 16.6)

As many International NGO’s, ATD contributes to the debates on the “Post 2015” Agenda.  ATD launched in May 2014 the report : Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind This report is 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.

23 Jun

Central African Republic: Four Young People (and Lots of Kids) Transform a Refugee Camp Into a Refuge for Beauty


In November 2013, four interns: Antoine, Jean, Daniel, and Hector, entered the ATD Fourth World courtyard in Bangui. They had already been volunteering with the team for a few years and wanted to do a 3-month internship to learn more about our work. The team in Bangui was glad to welcome them, particularly a group so eager to reach out to the most excluded people in their neighborhood, village, and country.

For two years, the four of them had worked on a project to write and produce a DVD titled “Child of The World, Give Me Your Hand.” With other facilitators, children, and parents, they recorded and filmed in many different areas in and around Bangui.

Antoine lives in the center of Bangui. He is overflowing with creativity and imagination. He loves to bring together the children of his neighborhood around a book, a story… and then drawing. His hands work marvels, as they transmit their love of art. He is close with the children and knows how to make them feel welcome and to bring out their words and thoughts. One of the goals of the internship was to organize showings of the DVD in the neighborhoods where the filming took place, to try and bring pride and enthusiasm to the children who had participated in the project. The interns began by working on posters and a banner and then set out to the different areas to meet the local leaders, parents, and other facilitators – bringing together all their ideas in one festive afternoon. With the children from several neighborhoods together, they prepared a short sketch about peace.

Jean comes from a village 20km from Bangui. He is the youngest of the interns. Arriving at the courtyard is a challenge that he is proud to face, and over the months Jean is often the first intern to arrive in the morning. He takes various routes, and sleeps sometimes in Bangui. He is always there though, loyal to his companions, always with a backpack ready to bring a few books back to his village, to share more stories with the children.

December brought the most recent violence. The team in Bangui was obliged to stop the internships for two months in the interest of safety for everyone involved. But they all stayed in contact. The four interns passed by the courtyard to talk and share news from their neighborhoods. “We are together, and we stay together,” Hector said with pride.

Daniel lives with his family at the Bangui-M’poko camp at the airport. It took him two weeks to “get used to” the place, but soon enough the spirit of a leader came through. Around Christmas he re-started the street library in the M’poko camp. Since then, working with a team of facilitators, he has been bringing together hundreds of children to sing, play, dance, and listen to stories. February and March 2014

The internship started up again in February, but not as originally planned. The team set meetings for every Thursday to run workshops with the children who are part of the nearby organization “Voice of the Heart.” The regular meetings also serve to reflect on how to continue. Meeting, exchanging, discussing, it all kept them together and gave them strength and courage.

Hector has to cross the river every time he comes to the courtyard, but that doesn’t keep him from coming very regularly, even outside of official meetings. He comes to share his own news and to be in touch with others and the outside world. Hector is there for friendship, to share his knowledge, and to help the children of his country move forward.

The internship continued in April, though showing the DVD still wasn’t possible. The interns kept looking for what they could do to give joy and pride to the children. Antoine promised to go where there are friends they can visit without taking any risks – and so they started to go every Thursday to M’Poko to support Daniel in his activities there. They decided to work with the children to create something beautiful, all of them together, to mark this period of several months that they have been living at the camp – a message visible where people pass through. The project turned into a gift for the field hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), “So that sadness will go away for a short time.”

The four interns worked alongside other young people already working at the camp for the past several months. They gave free reign to the children, who painted an enormous tarp from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. It was total happiness. The children were concentrated, they took their time, they followed the outlines with their brushes – they were so excited to contribute something beautiful. A few adults also joined in to draw and paint. The work became a fresco with lively colors, silhouettes of children, and words of peace – drawn by hundreds of hands.

In May, after a quick touch up at the courtyard, the painting returned to the M’Poko camp. The young people worked with the personnel of the hospital to put together a structure in wood so that the painting would be clearly visible.

At the end of May, with a delegation of children, the interns officially gave the painting to the MSF field hospital. In one simple, beautiful moment, the children told what peace meant to them: “Playing together,” “Going to school,” “Being here with you and not hearing the sound of gunshots,” “Eating calmly with my parents.” They offered the colorful painting, “so that the sick and tired can be happy when they see it.” Four young people and a group of children had changed what was a camp for refugees into a refuge for beauty.

The conditions in the country disrupted their internship – it was a true challenge to persevere and reach the end together. We all admire their team spirit, and their determination!

20 Jun

Giving Poverty a Voice – ATD UK workshop in London

10341769_804258612932007_2514128926130388631_nWhen? 24 June at 10:30 to 25 June at 02:30

Where? ATD Fourth World, 48 Addington Square, SE5 7LB London,

What? Who wants to Give Poverty a Voice? Who wants to learn the language of ‘public relations’?

With the promotion of ATD book The Roles We Play just around the corner, ATD UK invites to attend a meeting about public relations, promoting and campaigning.

The meeting will be divided into two parts.

The first half will be a workshop focused on developing our skills for promoting events and campaigns in public. Participants will particularly look at techniques for dealing with the kind of questions that the public or press may ask you when you are out in the community promoting projects like “The Roles We Play”.

The second half of the meeting will allow participants to reflect on and evaluate the past year of ATD project Giving Poverty a Voice.

This event is open to everyone! Information can be shared with other interested parties, colleagues or people who you support.

Contact: givingpovertyavoice@atd-uk.org

14 Jun

We can be the Generation – Zero Extreme Poverty in 2030!

With the Global Citizen, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, we dream of a world without extreme poverty. More than dream, this could become our reality. By 2030. It’s a difficult, but achievable goal. Progress has already been made. Still, more than 1 billion people live on under $1.25 a day for everything.

Leaders in the fight against extreme poverty believe that by working together, we can see an end to extreme poverty by 2030. Key to this is every country prioritizing the goal of poverty eradication now. This is where everybody comes in. Zero Poverty 2030 is a campaign that is calling on every country to commit to support all efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030.

A petition will be presented to world leaders in April 2015. Hundreds of thousands of voices have to come together around the world for this message to be heard.

Ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes is a difficult but achievable goal. Now is the time to take action!

1- Discover the new ATD report Challenge 2015: Towards Sustainable Development that Leaves No One Behind. 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.

2- Sign the petition at zeropoverty2030.org! Zero Poverty 2030 is a campaign of Global Citizen, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project. Contact:  zeropoverty2030@globalpovertyproject.com

3- Take action now! Volunteer with ATD in Ireland!

09 Jun

A Tribute to Marco

marco and rosarioOn the night of June 8, 2014, ATD long-term permanent volunteer, Marco Aurelio UGARTE OCHOA, died peacefully in his sleep. Rosario, his wife, was at his side.

Marco was among those who stayed the course, right to the end. Sparing no effort, he held fast until his final days, tirelessly sharing his three passions: his family, his people, and the ATD Fourth World Movement.

His commitment was rooted in his experiences as a child and youth, that made extreme poverty intolerable to him; he too often witnessed injustice. Convinced of the wealth within his people, he wanted to better understand the Andean culture and use it as a lever to upset the weight of poverty. It was in this search that he discovered the neglected, rural community of Cuyo Grande and linked himself to those struggling every day to be recognized in their dignity.

As a university professor (he was Professor of Anthropology at San Antonio Abad National University in Cusco), he guided his students to embrace this same principle. Outraged by the suffering that extreme poverty creates, he was also courageously involved in the political struggle for social justice in his country.

Marco always sought to take things further; he could never settle for political victories that did nothing to beat back persistent poverty. Meeting Joseph Wresinski in 1987 was a pivotal point in his life. From then on, he never stopped promoting Wresinski’s thinking and actions, and providing ways for others to become involved and committed. This led Marco to founding ATD Fourth World in his native Peru.

As ATD Permanent Volunteer Corps members, Marco and Rosario put their energy and enthusiasm into training others: passing on to new generations what it means to meet, know, and take action with people in extreme poverty.

When they moved to Mexico, their first concern was to meet people in the academic world in order to promote the message inscribed on the Commemorative Stone in Honor of the Victims of Extreme Poverty. While in Mexico, Marco shared his experience with ATD members in the region, as a Regional Delegate for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Marco’s dream was to return to ATD’s international center in Mery-sur-Oise, France, in order to delve into the writings of Fr. Joseph Wresinski. He wanted to offer his people and the Spanish-speaking world Wresinski’s revolutionary thinking, which had given so much meaning to his own life.

ATD Ireland, toghether with the International ATD Fourth World Movement is grateful to Marco for everything he has left us: for the strength of his commitment, for what he taught us. Marco knew how to create a space for the voices of those living in extreme poverty to be heard; he spoke several times at the United Nations.

He reflected, wrote, and spoke a great deal; his writings and visual and oral testimonies enrich the history we are forging together. We will continue seeking to understand the richness and depth of the endeavors he undertook so passionately and with such a sense of urgency.

We have lost a friend, a brother, an elder. Let us keep our links strong!

Marco Ugarte writes about Wresinski, founder of ATD

01 Jun

ATD UK invites to an International Forum: ‘Creating Community and Building Knowledge’

ATD UK (www.atd-uk.org) has the great pleasure of welcoming Mirit Sidi and Dr Orna Shemer, friends of ATD Fourth World in Israel, who will talk about The Women’s Courtyard, a brilliant project reaching and engaging with vulnerable women from different ethnic and religious backgrounds in Jaffa, a poor area in Tel-Aviv.

Participants will then have a chance to discuss together our own experiences of community outreach and of sharing and building knowledge based on people’s life experience.

Exchange between ATD UK activists and friends from Israel and Scotland will address community development: how to bring people living in poverty in communities together to build understanding and give people a voice.

Our friends from Israel, Mirit Sidi and Dr Orna Shemer, will explain how The Woman’s Courtyard provides a space for the women to speak out, think together and engage with academics and policy-makers.

Mirit Sidi and Leora Kessel founded the Women’s Courtyard in December 2003. Through their profession as social workers they understood how they could help these women. They wanted to create a multicultural, safe, female space offering emotional support, educational activities, vocational services and crisis intervention to disadvantaged young women in the Jaffa area. Jaffa is a historically poor area with about 42 % of the population getting assistance from the Welfare Department, compared to 14% in central Tel Aviv. The need here is great and it is often women and girls who have the hardest time and whose needs are overlooked. Mirit and Leora created a safe, friendly and inviting place where women can just ‘be’. At the Courtyard, the women can get food, clothes, practical advice and help relating to all issues. They are also encouraged to find interests that they like and are assisted with educational programmes.

Frimhurst Family House
Guildford Road, Frimley Green, GU16 6NU
Friday 13 June 2014
Tea and coffee from 10:30 am
Meeting starts at 11:00 am and ends at 2:30 pm
Lunch provided.

To whom do I RSVP?
Please RSVP to Tom Croft: 01252 835489 or croftt@atd-uk.org

How can I get there?

Trains from Waterloo and Clapham Junction to Brookwood (on the Alton and Basingstoke lines) – If you are coming from London and wish to come with a group from ATD Fourth World, please contact Hannah Blumhardt for more details: blumhardth@atd-uk.org