A New Humanity Without Poverty Will See the Light of Day
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Letter to Friends around the World # 95

The very poor tell us over and over again that a human being’s greatest misfortune is not to be hungry or unable to read, or even to be without work. The greatest misfortune of all is to know that you count for nothing, to the point where even your suffering is ignored.” said Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World.

Last 17 October, we paid tribute to everybody facing the violence of extreme poverty. Marked by deprivation and contempt, many flee from place to place driven by armed conflict, drought, floods, and hunger.

All too often our societies are deprived of the experiences of people whose lives are forged by courage and patience as they seek out pathways that could bridge our divisions, and lead us toward peace.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ms. Louise explains: “With ATD, no one gives us money, but as a movement we find intelligence that helps us get out of poverty. Our goal is to find the person who is the most stuck in poverty. We see him and speak to him, saying, ’Stand up tall; you have the strength to do it.’ I teach him to carry packages as I do, and we continue by working together. We manage so that no one is left behind.”

Ms. Louise’s struggle for every person’s dignity to be recognised is also happening in other places.

Around the world, thousands of people with first-hand experience of poverty have come together. Joined by public officials, grassroots community workers, and academics, they are merging their knowledge. Their work influenced the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, in which heads of state made a commitment to ensure that development will “leave no one behind.”

This promise awakens hope and fuels our commitment.
This path to free humanity from poverty is a long one. Joseph Wresinski set us on this path with determination. Like him, we continue to believe that “a new humanity without poverty will see the light of day because we want to make it happen.”

Isabelle Perrin,
Director General,
International Movement ATD Fourth World