With events on three continents, ATD Fourth World will launch its global STOP Poverty campaign on 12 February, 2017. Declaring that poverty is not inevitable, the campaign highlights people living in extreme poverty as full partners in efforts to overcome it. The year long campaign will emphasizes that the world can put a stop to poverty if people in all areas of society work together with the intention of leaving no one behind.
“Too often, the suffering people living in poverty face is used to instill fear, to call for walls to be built, and to reject foreigners,” said Cassam Uteem, President of ATD Fourth World and former President of Mauritius. “In 2017, we want to tell the world about someone who started a movement to unite people – those who live in poverty and those who do not – in order to eliminate obstacles that keep some people at the bottom.”
Uteem was talking about Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, born 100 years ago on February 12 in a refugee camp in France. Having experienced extreme poverty as a child, Wresinski went on to found a movement of people living in similar conditions yet advocating for their rights and dignity. Expressing what he had learned first hand, Wresinski said, “It’s not so much food or clothing that these people need, but dignity and not to be dependent on other people’s goodwill.” In France, the Ministry of Culture has recognized Wresinski’s centenary as an official national commemoration.
Throughout the year, STOP Poverty activities will take place around the world. Launching the campaign will be a ceremony in Angers, France the birthplace of Joseph Wresinski, as well as a United Nations round table discussion broadcast live on Facebook here: Leave No One Behind: The Wresinski Approach. Additional events will take place at the University of Bangui in Central African Republic; the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council in Paris and at Brussells Place de la Bourse. In the United States, the resident choir of Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans will perform songs of dignity and struggle chosen by people living in poverty from around the world. See below for more information about these and other events.
Additional campaign activities throughout the year will include debates and conferences on how to include the voices of the poorest in the fight against poverty, an online call to action, and collecting stories of success in the fight to overcome poverty. The campaign will culminate with a number of special events on 17 October 2017, the 30th World Day for Overcoming Poverty.