Mind, Heart, and Soul in the Fight against Poverty

By Katherine Marshall; Lucy Keough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Attacking Extreme
Poverty
Learning from the ATD
Fourth World Movement

The late Father Joseph Wresinski, a Catholic priest who grew up in poverty, founded the International Movement of ATD Fourth World in 1957 in a camp for homeless families outside Paris. The group’s first name was Aide à Toute Détresse (Aid to All Distress); the rest of the name derives from the Fourth Estate of the French Revolution—thus the very poorest people struggling to be represented in the political changes of the time. Today, ATD Fourth World operates in 27 countries on five continents. The movement aims to encourage other people to become involved with low-income families, to enable poor people themselves to do research on poverty, and to mobilize public opinion at local, national, and international levels about the need to ensure basic human rights for the very poor.1

ATD Fourth World seeks input from poor families and communities in housing estates, slums, and isolated shantytowns in designing, planning, and implementing its programs. Because the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities place great importance on the family unit, ATD does, too. ATD also follows the expressed wishes of the very poor in

This chapter draws primarily on Quentin Wodon’s work on ATD Fourth World,
undertaken as part of the World Bank’s Latin America poverty assessment work
(see Wodon 2001).

-57-

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