Thursday 25 October 2018
A group-lending microcredit school opens in Rukanda

Training the local community is an integral part of the “Water, Spring of Life” project. The goal is to teach them how to use the group-lending microcredit program and to be directly involved in their own growth and development.

How does it work? The group-lending microcredit model is a financial tool where savings and credits are managed in small groups: each member gives a small amount of money that, together with  contributions from all the other members, generates a fund that each member, in turn, can use to begin a profitable business venture.

Of course, whoever uses a share of the fund is committed to paying it back using profits generated by his new activity.

Its main goal is to collect savings and offer support and funds to the members of the community who would not have otherwise access to traditional financial services.

“Group-lending microcredit programs change people’s mindset and lead to financial and social development,” stated the lecturer who trained the field agents who are working together with the families who benefit from the program, teaching them how to use this tool.

Tuesday 25 September 2018
Burundi – build together to manage together

The “Water, Spring of Life” project will bring drinking water to about 850 families living on the Rukanda hill, in Bururi (Burundi). After shared projects and goals were set with the local communities, we are now entering the construction phase.

Locals will be involved again and everybody will be able to offer his or her contribution to build the infrastructures together with specialised workers and hired labourers.

Construction sites are often located in areas not easily accessible or not accessible at all, and therefore in these days we have started to build or renovate the bridges that will allow personnel, equipment, and materials to reach their planned destinations.

The Muhondo bridge is one of many that is being renovated: students from a nearby school have joined the official workforce, offering their concrete help to complete the project.

Such a spirit of cooperation and direct involvement developed during both planning and construction is one of the most important aspects of this project and will facilitate the project’s future phase where the locals will be in charge of managing the brand new infrastructure and water supply systems in a fare and sustainable way.


Tuesday 11 September 2018
Are all back in school?

From http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2018/09/18/are-all-back-in-school/

The question mark is vital. In many countries the school year is starting. But not all the children and kids have the same right and opportunity to go to school. AMU has its educational and school assistance projects.

In the hemisphere where summer is giving way to autumn, many cities have suddenly changed their rhythm, to conform partly to the opening and closing schedules of the schools, the cause of morning traffic, jams, or the gathering of groups at the exit of the scholastic facilities. But if for many children it is obvious that the return to school with a backpack, means meeting teachers, schoolmates, occupying a desk and are chair,  for many others, in other parts of the world, struck by painful situations of war or poverty, going to school, keeping up with one’s studies or doing the homework is a challenge. These are the problems addressed by AMU (Action for a United World). Inspired by the spirituality of Chiara Lubich, it works to spread a culture of dialogue and unity among peoples through development projects worldwide.

As for example in Syria. Today, now that the violent armed clashes have ceased, but not the emergency, the country is taking stock of the destruction of many school infrastructures and buildings, the migration of capital abroad, the economic embargo. In  Homs, the transfer of many people from some bombed districts to others considered “safe” and the reduced number of professors, who have migrated, have led to an overcrowding of the schools, resulting in the lack of adequate support for each student. On the other hand, the cost of attending a private school has become impossible. AMU’s commitment is that of offering greater care and attention to the evacuated children, accompanying them with educational and scholastic programmes. Instead in Damascus, in the old Tabbale district, the aid goes to the “Bayt al Atfal” Centre which gathers, for four days a week, 120 children between 6 and 10 years of age. Some of them live with their families in just one room and do not have a place where they can study, others have learning difficulties or syndromes such as dyslexia, or simply cannot count on anyone’s help, due to the absence or the illiteracy of their parents. In Aleppo, AMU supports a centre for deaf children who are not admitted to public or private schools. Today the “EHIS” school hosts 75 children and offers work to 30 people, among whom, professors, assistants and labourers. Still in Aleppo, the learning project “Learn and produce,” organised by the Syrian Handicrafts Centre, and supported by AMU, is bringing ahead a training course, for 20 adolescents, who learn to make and sell local artisanal items like soap based on laurel, brass objects and embroideries.

In Cairo, Egypt, the “hot topics” are scholastic dispersion and access of women to educational and professional courses that could help them develop their own professional capabilities. “Change For Tomorrow” of the Koz Kazah Foundation, in the community of Shubra, one of the most populated districts of the grand capital on the Nile, supports a group of women who have started up activities like the processing of wicker, cuisine, and ecological prints.

In Italy, AMU offers to teachers and educators a training path entitled “Living peace: peace as a school project.” Instead, for schools and groups of teens, it offers the “Basta conoscersi” project. The AMU educational and study assistance projectswelcome donations. In this way, for many children and adolescents September can really become a time to go back to school.

By Chiara Favotti