ATD (Aide à Toute Détresse) Fourth World, the human rights
organisation founded by Father Joseph Wresinski
in 1957. ATD is dedicated to the eradication
of extreme poverty
throughout the world, believing poverty to be a violation of human rights.
The approach of ATD is in many ways unique. ATD works with, not for, the poor, believing the very poor to be those with most knowledge of the causes and effects of poverty. Volunteers live on minimal salaries - £340 per month in England, for example. ATD dedicates time and effort to seeking out the very poorest and most socially excluded - who are also usually the hardest to find. They spend years working to give them confidence to speak out about their experience. With ATD, people from poor families have spoken in front of Boutros Boutros Ghali, former Secretary General of the UN.
ATD believes that true inclusion of those in extreme poverty is a necessity for democracy as a whole. As long as the voices of the poor are ignored, debate will itself be impoverished; and in particular anti-poverty policies will be at best misinformed and at worst actively harmful.
ATD run three month placements for people considering becoming volunteers, as well as shorter working weekends. They have branches in countries around the world. You can see the website at http://www.atd-fourthworld.org