Who We Are

Poverty is violence, and it threatens the inherent dignity of those who endure it.

We are an international non-governmental organization, with no religious or political affiliation, that works with individuals and institutions towards the eradication of extreme poverty. Working in partnership with people facing persistent poverty, ATD human rights-based approach focuses on supporting families and individuals through grassroots presence and involvement in disadvantaged communities.

In the Philippines, we are registered as a branch of the International Movement ATD Fourth World at the Securities and Exchange Commission since April 22, 1996.

As of June 2016, ATD Fourth World Philippines, is composed of two international permanent volunteers, twenty regular part time volunteers and supporters, and fifteen facilitators living in the disadvantaged areas.

We are present in the following communities:


  • Hilum and Lozada, Pandacan
  • Quirino Avenue, Paco
  • Manila North Cemetery

Resettlement Sites outside Manila

  • Balagtas, Bulacan
  • Norzagaray, Bulacan
  • Pandi, Bulacan
  • Calauan, Laguna


Our Name

What does ATD Fourth World mean?

In 1957 our founder Father Joseph Wresinki was assigned in Noisy-le-Grand, a poor housing camp in France. He and the families were seeking legal recognition for the organization they had started.  He created the title ATD Fourth World as a symbolic name for people living in extreme poverty and exclusion.

ATD – All Together in Dignity

During its founding in 1957, ATD stood for Aide à Toute Détresse” (Help for all who are in Distress). As the organization grew, we needed a new meaning that can be used in every language.  Johanna Stadelmann, a Swiss volunteer in the Philippines Team during the late 1980s, suggested the new definition “All Together in Dignity.” It was adopted by the International Movement to represent our approach to fighting poverty.  Eradicating poverty will involves all of us – rich, powerful, and people living in poverty.  We need to work together, and above all, we need to treat everyone with the dignity they deserve.

Fourth World

Fourth World represents people living in extreme poverty and exclusion.  Father Joseph Wresinki suggested “Fourth World,” a reference to a term used during the French Revolution (1789 – 1799).

At the time of the Revolution, France was divided into three estates: the clergy, the aristocracy, and the commoners.  The third estate, the commoners, gained political rights in 1789.  They were allowed to express their grievances in official written records and to elect representatives to the first national assembly. But people living in extreme poverty were excluded from these rights since they did not pay enough taxes. Dufourny de Villiers, a French nobleman, argued against this discrimination. He wrote about the “fourth order,” a term he created.  Dufourny acted in favor of rights for all and the voices of excluded people such as laborers, widows, the ill or infirm were essential to build a free and fraternal society.

Father Joseph Wresinki used Fourth World to refer to people in both industrialized and developing countries that are marginalized and treated differently because of their persistent poverty.