Welcome to the US home of the international movement ATD Fourth World. We at ATD Fourth World believe that persistent poverty can be eradicated. It can be done by working in partnership with people living in poverty. We work on the grassroots level in over 34 countries and in six areas of the US, and maintain consultative status at the United Nations, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the ILO.
“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.” – Joseph Wresinski
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I walked slowly through the neighborhood of Ocean Hill getting ready for the Street Library I helped with this summer as an intern. Some of the women were chattering away and making the most of the weather. An old man was wearing a look of boredom as he sat on the benches among his friends. A small group of children were already at the playground chasing each other around while some of the older boys played basketball.
That moment felt almost peaceful and relaxing. I knew that nearly everyone I saw lived in some kind of poverty, yet they did not seem beaten down by their circumstance. They appeared to create a sustainable life despite it that filled me with hope. I felt like I was witnessing a parallel existence — one I was aware of as a young girl living in the United States my whole life and one I had rediscovered after being exposed to the reality of poverty in my own backyard. I already knew the next few hours would transform my understanding of social responsibility, but I had no idea how an encounter with a little boy in the park would change my understanding of poverty. (More)