World Day for Overcoming Poverty
Since 1987, the World Day for Overcoming Poverty (officially known as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the UN), celebrated each October 17, gives a platform for people living in poverty and extreme poverty to speak out about their lives and their struggles against poverty. In the words of one participant, “It’s our day. We can say what we have in our hearts without shame or embarrassment.”
October 17 was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1992. The day was first celebrated in 1987 as ATD Fourth World’s founder, Joseph Wresinski, led over 100,000 people to the Human Rights Plaza in Paris, France. A commemorative stone was laid on that occasion, engraved with the same text as stones subsequently laid at the United Nations offices in New York, at the European Union offices in Belgium, and in other places around the world:
“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
Joseph Wresinski, founder ATD Fourth World
Each year, in schools, in public squares, in town halls and cultural centers, at the United Nations, and in the heart of villages, ordinary people come together around the experiences of people living in poverty. In each place the day is commemorated differently and may involve debates, art exhibits, workshops, stories for children, or musical performances.
The World Day for Overcoming Poverty is observed by many groups in addition to ATD Fourth World. If you are interested in finding an event near you, or in organizing your own event, please consult the official website of the World Day for Overcoming Poverty.