The World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty has been celebrated every October 17th since 1987. Born from the initiative of Father Joseph Wresinski and that of several thousand people from all backgrounds who gathered on the Plaza of Human Rights in Paris in 1987, this day has been officially recognized by the United Nations since 1992.

Why a World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty?

  • To ensure the voices of the most disadvantaged are heard - The World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty is commemorated so that the voices of those who are usually reduced to their difficulties, or even held responsible for them, are heard. "It's our day, we can express what we have in our heart without shame, without embarrassment," said one participant. The World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty gives them the opportunity to speak out on the harsh conditions under which they live, on their daily resistance to these conditions, and their aspirations. One can conquer extreme poverty only when you begin to listen to those most directly impacted by it.
  • To mobilize citizens and public officials - Poverty is a violation of fundamental human rights. Poverty is not inevitable and it can be fought and defeated, as were slavery and apartheid. In France, in particular, the commemoration invites us to understand how everyone, wherever they are, can act.
  • A point of support for a fundamental struggle against extreme poverty - ATD Fourth World, on this day, wishes that the initiatives inspired by the memorial’s message multiply and are heard by associations, elected representatives, and citizens everywhere. ATD Fourth World is committed to reaching out to others in honor of the victims of extreme poverty, and for the mobilization of all the defenders of human rights. With this ethic, October 17 is a point of support for a dynamic of refusal of extreme poverty all year long.

A message that resonates very broadly in the area of ​​human rights and freedoms, Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, inaugurated the memorial that includes this inscription:

“On this day, defenders of human and civil rights from every continent gathered here. They paid homage to the victims of hunger, ignorance and violence. They affirmed their conviction that human misery is not inevitable. They pledged their solidarity with all who, throughout the world, strive to eradicate extreme poverty. Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights are respected is our solemn duty.” Joseph Wresinski

You can contribute to this website, send us messages, information, links, etc., posting a testimony or message by filling the form on this page

Other information on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in general.

oct17 [at] atd-fourthworld [dot] org (Send your e-mail to the International Committee for October 17 )