On Valentine’s Day, let’s open our #Hearts4Justice!
Donate and help ATD Ireland to live the legacy!
On 14 February 1988, Joseph Wresinski passed away. He was 71.
He is the initiator of the United Nations’ #EndPoverty Day (each 17 October) and the spiritual father of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty (adopted in 2012).
Together with French sociologist Jules Klanfer, he first introduced in 1965 and developed the concept of “social exclusion”, now a concept broadly used worldwide.
All his life, he was a strong advocate of people trapped in chronic poverty for generations. The “Wresinski approach” inspires new ways to fight poverty worldwide. It recognises people with experience of poverty as partners in designing, implementing, monitoring and assessing public policies. In 1957, Wresinski founded the NGO ATD in a slum near Paris which has become today All Together in Dignity with 100 projects in 40 countries.
On 14 February each year, friends of ATD are invited to read and reflect on the very last address made by Wresinski. He wrote this to the long term volunteers from his hospital bed just days before his death on 14 February 1988.
On Valentine’s Day, let’s open our #Hearts4Justice! Donate and help us to live the legacy!
Joseph Wresinski was born on 12 February 1917 to immigrant parents, detained in a French internment camp because of WW1. Later, his family suffered from chronic poverty and social exclusion in a poor neighbourhood of Angers, France.
In 1946, he was ordained as a priest and served in industrial and rural parishes where, right from the beginning, he related to the most deprived families.
In 1956, he was assigned chaplain to 250 families in a emergency housing camp in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris. The families lived in quonset (nissan) huts erected in a muddy field. He said about his years in Noisy-le-Grand: “The families in that camp have inspired everything I have undertaken for their liberation. They took hold of me, they lived within me, they carried me forward, they pushed me to found ATD with them.”
In 1957, Joseph Wresinski and the families of the camp founded the first association which was later to become All Together in Dignity Fourth World.
Responding to the demands of the families and working with them, the soup kitchen and the distribution of old clothes were replaced with a library, kindergarden, chapel and workshop. Volunteers came to join the action and a Research Institute on extreme poverty was created to bring together researchers from different countries and disciplines.
Since its beginning the development of ATD was inspired by Joseph Wresinski’s own experience as a child in a poverty-stricken family and by his daily contacts with families in extreme poverty and members of ATD International Long Term Volunteer Corps.
Joseph Wresinski’s firm purpose was to unite all sections of society around the poorest. With this aim he met leaders of States, churches and international bodies from all over the world. Even though he was a catholic priest, he believed that every man or woman he met represented a chance for the poorest and he was determined that ATD would remain non-denominational and open to people of all cultures, faiths, beliefs…
His appointment to France’s Economic and Social Council in 1979 was a significant step in his quest for official representation of people in extreme poverty. With the publication in France of the “Wresinski Report” in 1987, he succeeded in gaining recognition of people in poverty as partners in society. This report enabled him also to put “extreme poverty” on the Human Rights agenda.
On 17 October 1987, in the presence of 100,000 people from every social background and continent, Joseph Wresinski unveiled a commemorative stone in the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris. On this marble his call is engraved: “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
17 October was declared “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” by the United Nations in 1992. In several countries, each year or even on the 17th of each month, people gather for a short commemoration in honour of people who suffer from extreme poverty, and to renew their commitment to fight alongside them.
ATD Ireland is pleased to start a European project co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme. “Our Voices 2017” is a project aiming to deepen discussions on the future of Europe, underlining the idea of an inclusive social Europe, which is emphasized in the European Social Charter (ESC) and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) and enhancing participation of people living social exclusion situations on those debates.
The relevance of the project is related to the increasing distance from European Union Institutions which a lot of the population in different European countries are experiencing, especially among those who live in poverty. It is essential to open a process in which people struggling with poverty and social exclusion can discuss the social and human dimension of the European construction and contribute to a better promotion and implementation of two of the fundamental European agreements (ESC and CFR).
The objectives of “Our Voices 2017” are:
- To promote a participatory process on EU social principles including people living in social exclusion and/or poverty.
- To spread the contents of CFR and ESC and the work of the EU Agency Fundamental Rights and the European Committee of Social Rights.
- To produce collaborative knowledge on social difficulties and policies in EU countries as well as proposals to overcome them.
- To develop effective recommendations and proposals to build a more inclusive Europe for everyone.
1 Project – 3 Countries – 4 Partners
The partners of ATD Ireland are:
- ATD Cuarto Mundo – Spain – www.atdcuartomundo.es
- ATD Poland – www.atd.org.pl
- Andecha – www.equipoandecha.org
Download the Full Presentation of this 18 months project!
In 2015, a series of discussions was organised by All Together in Dignity in different areas across Dublin in partnership with community groups.
The aim of these dialogues was to allow citizens, especially those in positions of hardship, to reflect on what ‘human rights’ meant for them. This project was financially supported by a small grant from IMPACT’s Joe Lucey Fund.
Based on the messages of citizens of Dublin’s Northside, ATD prepared a #GE15 leaflet you can download, print and pin at your front door as a “questions list” for canvassers!
With all the participants to the workshops, we pledge to fight for our rights. Human rights must be real and available to everyone. Not only must our rights be recognised, but there must be clear, simple and effective methods for us to access these rights.
We welcome the constitutional convention’s recommendation to strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights in Bunreacht na hÉireann. We call on all candidates to actively support all initiatives to organise a #YesSolidarity referendum.
Download also our “To Do List” with some advice to candidates in order to be “#GE16 Ready”!