Together, it becomes possible to build a world where we live in peace, free from poverty and fear, and where every human being can achieve his or her full potential.
At a time of unprecedented challenges that demand collective action, we cannot accept the waste of human potential that poverty represents.
Poverty is a form of violence. It leads to prejudice and humiliation and it silences people. It destroys lives and is a major obstacle to forging a sustainable and peaceful world.
But poverty is not inevitable. Like slavery or discrimination, it can be overcome. For as long as poverty has existed, those who suffer it have resisted its injustice. The world needs their knowledge and intelligence in order to face today’s challenges.
The time has come to build a world where no one is left behind. By learning from those living in poverty, we can finally free ourselves from the exclusion and domination that have governed human relationships for too long.
Since October 17, 1987, the first World Day for Overcoming Poverty, people from all walks of life and countless organizations have responded to the powerful call to action launched by Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World:
“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure those rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
This call is a nonviolent answer to the violence of poverty. It has empowered countless people living in poverty to speak out, act with others, and be heard.
Each year, around the world, more and more people from different backgrounds have come together to reject poverty by pushing for basic human rights to be respected and by urging organizations and institutions to take action. All of these efforts have proven, time and time again, that when we work together we can overcome exclusion and poverty.