30 Aug

The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty

book UKATD UK www.atd-uk.org, in partnership with artist and photographer Eva Sajovic, is proud to present work from new book:

The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty


This new collection of photographic portraits and self-written biographies explores the roles played by those living in poverty within their families, communities and society at large. The aim is to highlight their efforts, validate their achievements and challenge the negative attitudes often held towards vulnerable and excluded families in the UK.

The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People Living in Poverty, will be officially launched on UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17th October 2014 – see www.17october.ie) at 6.30pm at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning (198 Railton Road, London SE24 OJT).  Copies of the book will be available and refreshments provided.

The work will be presented in a context of a multimedia exhibition based upon material taken from the book, along with video stations and the opportunity to join ATD UK’s interactive digital campaign instagram.com/rolesweplay

The Roles We Play multimedia book project was made possible by support from the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All.


Twitter: @ATDFourthWorld #RolesWePlay

29 Aug

ATD has been running Street Libraries in the US for over 30 years!

Did you know that ATD has been running Street Libraries in the US for over 30 years now?


The first Street Library in the US started in 1981 in Coney Island and East New York. Today ATD USA runs Street Libraries almost everywhere we have a team.

The idea is simple – we bring books and creative activities into communities to share them with children. Kids learn to read, they learn to paint – more importantly, they learn to love books and art. And then little by little, they learn to take pride in their community (where all this happens), in their parents (who are their first teachers), and in themselves (for all their creativity and hard work.)

The results? Here is what someone told us about their time with the Street Library in the Ocean Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn back in the early 2000’s:

“In Ocean Hill you have two main avenues, one of them is broadway, where the train runs. And usually people wouldn’t cross back and forth to each other on the other side of broadway, and with Street Library we changed that, we collectively changed that so the community became closer and people got to know one another.”


Of course it takes a long time to get to that – someone else told us about Street Library in New Orleans recently:

“The week before, we experienced gun shots in the street during street library… There weren’t so many kids that day, and they all knew what to do, which was very impressive. As soon as they heard it, they ran home. The next week, we experienced some great moments, with many kids, some parents, every body participated the activity. It was really nice.”

27 Aug

Book launch events in the US! People living in poverty work for peace in often unseen ways

Every day, around the world, people living in poverty work for peace in often unseen ways. Joining in this struggle has been the mission of ATD internationally for more than 50 years.

This book is rooted in participatory research that was conducted by ATD on the violence of extreme poverty that showed just how much people living in poverty do to search for peace, to go beyond violence, and to build a sense of community.

Through narratives, photos, and video links, we discover the acts of courage, as well as the creativity, experience, and insights of people living in poverty.

In New York City on September 10th at 172 1st Avenue in Manhattan (between 10th and 11th streets) at 7:00pm ATD will release of its newest book Artisans of Peace Overcoming Poverty, which introduces partners in peace-building whose efforts have too often remained unrecognized.

The event will consist of a brief presentation of the book and panel discussion including presentations from:

Marc Lacey Marc Lacey (@MarcLacey), Associate Managing Editor for Weekends at the New York Times. Formerly Deputy Foreign Editor, Marc has served as a correspondent in Washington, Nairobi, Mexico City, and Phoenix. In 2010, as Mexico City Bureau Chief, he managed the paper’s coverage of the Haitian earthquake. While Nairobi Bureau Chief, Marc was one of the first reporters to write first-hand about the genocide in Darfur.

 rosa choRosa Cho, Policy and Research Analyst with Re:Gender  (@Re_Gender).  Rosa joined Re:Gender in fall 2013 after working in various human rights, socioeconomic justice and violence against women organizations, including Amnesty International USA, the United Nations, and the New York Asian Women’s Center. Rosa received a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and an M.S.S.W. from Columbia. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the NYU Silver School of Social Work.

 8sept2012Diana Skelton (@DianaSkelton), Deputy Director General of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.  As part of ATD’s full-time Volunteer Corps since 1986, she has lived and worked in low-income neighborhoods in New York and Madagascar. Since 2008 she has been based at ATD’s international center in France. From there, her work brings her around the world to consult with people living in extreme poverty and visit local ATD Fourth World teams. Author in 2004 of How Poverty Separates Parents and Children: A Challenge to Human Rights, Diana is now the co-author of Artisans of Peace Overcoming Poverty.

Also in Washington DC on September 13th at Busboys & Poets (14th & V streets NW) at 9:45 a.m. for the release of the book.

The event will consist of a brief presentation of the book and panel discussion including presentations from: 

LaudyLaudy Aron, Senior Fellow with the Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population (@UrbanInstitute) in Washington, DC. Laudy also recently served as a Senior Program Officer and Study Director at the National Academy of Sciences. She has spent over 25 years conducting research and policy analysis on a wide range of social welfare issues, including poverty, health, housing, education, and employment. Her work focuses on how social and economic conditions shape health and wellbeing from early in life, and how policies and programs can best support individual, family, and community development across time and place.

Jennifer Lentfer squareJennifer Lentfer (@intldogooder), creator of the blog how-matters.org. Jennifer was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter.” She aims to place community-driven initiatives, which can be more genuinely responsive to local needs, at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise. Lentfer has worked with over 300 grassroots organizations in east and southern Africa over the past decade, as well as various international organizations in Africa and the US, including the Red Cross, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, and Firelight Foundation, where in her career she has focused on monitoring and evaluation and organizational development. Lentfer is currently Senior Writer on Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness team and editor of the organization’s Politics of Poverty blog. Lentfer is also a lecturer at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication.

mark-websiteDr. Mark Bergel (@MarkBergel), founder of A Wider Circle. Dr. Bergel founded A Wider Circle in 2001 and has emerged as a leader in the movement to end poverty. He is a nationally acclaimed speaker in the fields of poverty, health, and social connection and has been featured on national television and radio programs. In 2010, Dr. Bergel was voted one of People Magazine and Major League Baseball’s “All Stars Among Us.” He has also received the Dr. Augustus White III Award for Civic Engagement and Service, the Andrea Jolly President’s Award, the Essence of Leadership Award at the Greater DC Cares Business and Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s Linowes Leadership Award.

8sept2012Diana Skelton (@DianaSkelton), Deputy Director General of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.  As part of ATD’s full-time Volunteer Corps since 1986, she has lived and worked in low-income neighborhoods in New York and Madagascar. Since 2008 she has been based at ATD’s international center in France. From there, her work brings her around the world to consult with people living in extreme poverty and visit local ATD Fourth World teams. Author in 2004 of How Poverty Separates Parents and Children: A Challenge to Human Rights, Diana is now the co-author of Artisans of Peace Overcoming Poverty.

AoP-Banner-large“ATD is an essential point of reference for the effectiveness of the constant and varied efforts to water the seeds of a new community, to cultivate their growth over the long term, and to bring back the joy of living.”

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations

“When I was president of Senegal, on the occasion of the first commemoration honoring the victims of extreme poverty on October 17, 1987, I was struck by the nobility and the devotion of ATD. This organization founded by Joseph Wresinski is a message of hope and of faith in human dignity for all of us.”

Abdou Diouf, Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie

23 Aug

Reflecting on ATD’s Mode of Governance

In November 2014,  All Together in Dignity  will organize a seminar on its governance.  Five workshops are being organized during 2014 to help determine the content of this seminar. Each workshop  brings together 15 to 20 people, including people who face poverty on a daily basis. Participants will be reflecting critically on ATD’s governance practices from 1988 to 2012.

The whole process will be based on the experience and practice of former Head of ATD’s International Leadership Team, Eugen Brand, who was member of the General Secretariat from 1988 to 1993 and Director General from 1999 to 2012.

 The goal is to draw lessons from this experience in order to nourish ATD’s internal discussion of governance and to bring out elements for long-term conversation within ATD.

Since its founding in France in 1956, All Together in Dignity has built its action and its mode of governance on a constant engagement with the following questions: How do the experiences and knowledge of people living in extreme poverty 
change our ways of living alongside one another and acting together? What kind of thinking and what kind of history do they generate and drive forward?

Wresinski, ATD’s Founder, wrote in 1982: “One of the worst dangers threatening the
Movement is  that  of  “management”.  Management  reassures  people,  trivializes issues, and simplifies problems  and  their  solutions. The  liberation of  people  is  complex  and  does  not  follow  a  linear progression.”

Today, on every continent, ATD Fourth World continues to look for global, coherent, and forward-looking answers to these questions.

In this process, different forms of knowledge, different practices, and different forms of power merge together, minds and hearts unite in a commitment to collective responsibility, which fosters a specific kind of ethics of governance — one that is based on recognition of the human person and on steadfast concern for the most forgotten members of our societies.

Dowload the document  including a more detailed presentation of the workshops and the final seminar.

21 Aug

Intern Inecita Burrell writes about her work with the ATD team in New York


I almost got tears in my eyes when Jacob was making these comments… he doesn’t want anyone else to experience
what he has gone through
and is empathetic towards others in his same situation.”

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I walked slowly through the neighborhood of Ocean Hill getting ready for the Street Library I helped with this summer as an intern. Some of the women were chattering away and making the most of the weather. An old man was wearing a look of boredom as he sat on the benches among his friends. A small group of children were already at the playground chasing each other around while some of the older boys played basketball.

ATD Fourth World InternshipThat moment felt almost peaceful and relaxing. I knew that nearly everyone I saw lived in some kind of poverty, yet they did not seem beaten down by their circumstance. They appeared to create a sustainable life despite it that filled me with hope. I felt like I was witnessing a parallel existence — one I was aware of as a young girl living in the United States my whole life and one I had rediscovered after being exposed to the reality of poverty in my own backyard. I already knew the next few hours would transform my understanding of social responsibility, but I had no idea how an encounter with a little boy in the park would change my understanding of poverty.

His name is Jacob and he was reading The Giving Tree. He read the entire book to me and at the end of it we had a short conversation about our thoughts on the boy in the story. I felt that the boy had taken advantage of the tree by only using it when he needed something and did not seem appreciative of all the resources it provided him. Jacob on the other hand, had a completely different reaction. His response was the following: ¨I don’t think the boy was taking advantage of the tree because he needed help and didn’t have anywhere else to get his stuff. The tree seemed happy to help him out. If I were the tree I would have done the same thing. I would help anyone who is struggling and give them all my stuff if they need it.¨

I almost got tears in my eyes when Jacob was making these comments because I could tell he was being genuine. However, after hearing his response I realized that he could relate to the boy in this book. I assumed that since Jacob himself is living in poverty, he knows what it is like to not have that much “stuff” and understands the kind of situation the boy is in. He doesn’t want anyone else to experience what he has gone through and is empathetic towards others in his same situation.

What I saw on that sunny day in Ocean Hill Park were people living their lives, participating in an arguably efficient informal economy and finding ways to make it from one day to the next with a positive attitude. But the reality is that they have little to nothing. They often do not have running water in their homes. The children are exposed to street and gang violence. They do not have any resources to deal with sickness — or a healthcare system to rely on. They have what they need to survive that day and hopefully the next, but that is it.

My plan in working with the public housing community in Ocean Hill was to learn about poverty and to better understand ways to combat it. However, I have left with something much deeper — a better understanding of what it means to be human. When people have nothing, their humanity is not hidden behind a mountain of fashionable clothes, fancy cars, expensive toys or big homes. Their humanity is on display for everyone to see. If you slow down long enough to listen and build relationships with the people in these communities they will happily take the time to tell you that every human has a story filled with great moments of joy and great moments of sadness. Ultimately, the sharing of ideas that happens during these daily exchanges around the world, day in and day out, compels them to find a way to capture those moments — visually and emotionally — in order to pass this story on to others.

Inecita Burrell

Inecita recently completed an internship with our New York team. ATD internships give people an opportunity to experience the work we do first-hand, changing perspectives on poverty in their own country.

If you think you or someone you know would be interested in applying for an internship.

If you are in Ireland, contact: volunteering@atdireland.ie

If you are in the USA,  visit: http://www.4thworldmovement.org/join-us/internships/

18 Aug

In Belfast, Participation and the Practice of Rights takes a pioneering approach!

Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) takes a pioneering approach to the practice of rights;  it puts the excluded and  marginalised in charge” Inez McCormack, Trade Unionist, Human Rights Activist and Founder of PPR

Established in 2006, PPR specialises in socio-economic rights. PPR places them at the service of the most disadvantaged groups and supports these groups to make real change on the ground. To make these changes lasting, PPR also focuses on ensuring the active and meaningful participation of excluded groups in government decision making processes which affect their lives.

This approach which involves organising, evidence gathering, strategy building, media work, grassroots monitoring, and legal and policy support.  PPR started life as a ‘pilot’ project to test if social change could result from marginalised groups taking ownership of human rights tools, and using them to campaign for change.

PPR groups’ work on issues including housing, mental health services, play, homelessness, unemployment, social security, domestic violence and asylum. Their work has resulted in better housing conditions, improved play facilities and follow up care for those in mental health crisis. In 2014 a PPR group secured the first ever motion passed at a council in the United Kingdom or Ireland committing to using their procurement budget to ring fence jobs for the long-term unemployed.

Here are links to some recently published documents through which PPR hopes to share its learnings.

These include an academic article that analyses PPR’s distinct grassroots human rights based approach. It also features a case study by the International Budget Partnership of PPR’s budget work, and a contribution to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty’s study on the Participation of people living in Poverty.

For more information please contact kate@pprproject.org

11 Aug

With Focus Ireland, Write to the Taoiseach and the Tainiste Reminding them of the Constitutional Convention’s ESC Rights’ Recommendation

Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy of Focus Ireland, writes: “Do you remember that earlier this year the Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the Constitution should be amended to include a right to a home? It was an important recognition for all the families in negative equity, mortgage debt, rent arrears or forced into homelessness.”

The Government seems to have forgotten. With Focus Ireland,  ATD thinks it’s time to remind them and would like your help to do so.

When the Government set up the Constitutional Convention and invited representative Irish citizens to discuss the future of the Irish Constitution, they promised they would respond to whatever recommendations the Convention made within four months.

It was back in February that the Convention invited Focus Ireland and others along to present our views on whether Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – which include the right to a home – should be included in the Constitution.

The arguments Focus Ireland put forward and other contributions as Amnesty International and the ESC Rights initiative (see  ATD’s statement) convinced the Convention.

They voted overwhelmingly in favour of such rights being in the Constitution – which would require a referendum to be achieved.

The Government’s own deadline came and went at the end of July with nothing but silence.

It is just too important an issue to be forgotten and with Focus Ireland, we are asking people who support ESC Rights to send an e-mail to the Taoiseach and Tainiste reminding them of the Convention’s recommendation, their own promise to the Convention and that for instance the right to a home is more important to Irish people now than it has ever been.

Focus Ireland has drafted a basic letter for you, which you can send as it is or amend to reflect your own priorities and experience about ESC rights.

You can send that letter from here.

We thank you in advance for your support!



06 Aug

If Mental Health Matters, We Cannot Allow Injustice and Poverty to Shape our Lives! 12 August 2014 is International Youth Day

YouthInfographics_MentalHealth_F copyInternational Youth Day will be taking place on 12 August 2014.

It will bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. This year, the theme will be “Youth and Mental Health” under the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’.

In 2010, young people gathered in Europe by ATD said: “The hardest thing is knowing that you count for nothing, that your life has no value for anyone. That’s the hardest thing. We have trouble understanding this world but we want to find our place in it”. Read their appeal.

If Mental Health Matters, We cannot allow INJUSTICE and POVERTY to shape our lives. We are not feckless, work-shy, delinquent or antisocial. Day to day, we struggle against inequality through many small acts of resistance and solidarity. Our lives bear witness to this fight.”

On #YouthDay next Tuesday 12 August, join the weekly ATD Twitter Chat! Add your Youth Voices and tell us what #PovertyMeans, in the #PovertyMeans discussion! For one hour, stay with us on Twitter at 4pm Dublin, 11am NYC.

12 August was designated as International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999. It is an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the world’s youth.

Thematic discussions and information campaigns will take place on 12 August 2014 across the world, to encourage both Member States and the general public to understand the needs of young people, to implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face, and to help young people into the decision-making process.




04 Aug

ATD in Central African Republic: Peace as the Road to Civic Engagement

Coincidence? While the President of the Central African Republic (CAR) assembled some of the country’s well-known figures to reflect on getting past various divisions and moving towards the mutual recognition of all as full citizens, 50 young people who lead activities in various associations got together at ATD’s Courtyard in Bangui for a professional training entitled, “Peace as the Road to Civic Engagement.”

Read more at www.atd-fourthworld.org

01 Aug

Challenge 2015: ATD’s contribution to the Post 2015 agenda debate!

After six days of heated intergovernmental negotiations that stretched into Saturday afternoon of 19 July 2014, the outcome document containing a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by the Open Working Group mandated to work on this at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

This video shows how ATD International contributed to the debates.

ATD’s 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.