What’s the difference between ATD Fourth World and other NGOs that fight against poverty?
ATD Fourth World shares with many other NGOs the objective of ending poverty and the concern that actions undertaken respect people in the greatest difficulty.
NGOs that fight against poverty are generally the response of society to the tragedy of poverty: people from different social classes organize themselves to think and act together.
ATD Fourth World was started by poor people
The movement was initiated by Joseph Wresinski, a man who was himself born into poverty, and by the inhabitants of a slum near Paris. It was, therefore, poor people themselves who started this NGO and who went to look for help in the rest of society as they could not realize their aims by themselves. Right at the beginning and to this day the people who had known or who knew great poverty were part of the movement. This influences all of the running and the choice of objectives of the NGO. It means that those who have had the hardest lives are at the center of the movement and that they bring their thoughts, experiences and propositions with them.
People that have not had an experience of poverty are, of course, welcome to join. The movement requires them to learn to think in this way and to act in a way that gives priority to those that have had the greatest difficulties.