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.
Started by people in poverty
People in poverty were the force of ATD Fourth World from the start. Joseph Wresinski, a man born into poverty and the inhabitants of an emergency housing camp near Paris started ATD Fourth World in 1957.
They then went to look for help in the rest of society as they could not achieve their aims by themselves. From the beginning people in poverty were part of ATD. 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 centre 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.