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ATD Fourth World’s decision to begin working in Poland was made in the historic period following the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. ATD’s first project involved a group of people who were living in the train station in Kielce and who sought support in obtaining a legal address.

In 2004, members of ATD’s Volunteer Corps began working in Warsaw and in early 2008 started Street Libraries and other activities. The members of the full-time Volunteer Corps in Warsaw come from several European countries and rely on more than 250 local friends and allies.

Their actions include four initiatives:

The People’s University:

Establishes a dialogue between people living in persistent poverty and others without a direct experience of poverty. This enables more vulnerable members of society to participate fully in the life of their communities and society at large. Their knowledge and experience are recognized and enrich the knowledge of others. Approximately 30 people meet monthly to exchange ideas on issues related to overcoming poverty and exclusion. Annual budget: $12,500 (€11,000).

Street libraries:

Engage children and parents around books and art in under-resourced communities to help them develop their imagination and gain in self-confidence. One Street Library is organized weekly in a temporary housing shelter for women and children who are originally from the Donbass region of Ukraine, Chechnya, and the former Soviet republics of the Caucasus, and who are applying for political refugee status. This Street Library reaches 20 to 50 children, ages 2 to 17, and closely involves their mothers.

A second Street Library, held in one of Warsaw’s lowest-income neighborhoods, reaches 30 to 50 children. Several times a year, creative workshops involve children in collective projects, allowing them to build self-confidence and demonstrating that collaboration can be fun. Annual budget: $12,000 (€10,500).

Tapori children’s network:

One or two Tapori campaigns are held annually for children aged 7 to 12 in Warsaw and elsewhere in the country. Tapori helps children forge friendships and respect among themselves and with other children throughout the world. Annual budget: $12,000 (€10,500).


This project involves 20 young people who meet regularly. They join other young people throughout Europe for summer camps, debates among themselves, and meetings with officials. They are also active in workshops that help strengthen their creativity and their self-confidence. Annual budget: $12,500 (€11,000).

Total annual budget for ATD Fourth World in Poland : $90,000 (€80,000).

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