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One thing is to help the poor ensuring them food, medical care, housing and education; another thing is to tackle poverty further upstream, aiming to create jobs, decent and stable work.
Even though the welfare state attitude has never been at all in AMU’s style, sometimes, in dramatic situations, for short periods, it is unavoidable. The important thing is not to stop there, but always work with the prospect of a lasting and sustainable development.
The collaboration between the Economy of Communion and AMU is an example how it is possible to change in this direction. Despite of the corporate earnings aimed at the poor, every year the funds used to create or strengthen small productive activities increase incredibly. Currently we have 11 ongoing projects, which are creating 350 jobs, with a total investment of about EUR 500,000.
All the details are in the article written by Francesco Tortorella published on the EoC report 2014-2015. Read the full text on the EOC website >>>

 

A few days ago a newspaper ran the headline: “Syria, shooting range of global powers”. Nothing new, for some time now it has been known that interests and solid international balances are played on the flesh of the Syrian population, veiled by insubstantial ceasefire promises.

We, ordinary women and men, constantly ask ourselves how can we open the eyes of the rulers of the world, and infuse in their mind some common sense. There is no national interest that is worth as much as a human life.

On the other side, every day we hear of people, families and groups who spend their time and their energy to stay close to the Syrian people, welcoming those who arrived in our countries or sending aid to those who have remained. The peace and human brotherhood cause has many supporters! Since the conflict, thanks to this movement of solidarity, we have been able to send to our representatives in Syria 278,000 Euros. So we managed to help the civilian population, in particular: the displaced families in Lebanon and the remaining families in Syria, people in need of urgent medical attention from Kfarbo and the deaf children of the Aleppo school.
Additional funds will be sent out shortly.

Contributions have arrived from all over the world. Just to name some in the recent months: from the Association “Tra cielo e mare”, from groups and communities of Bergamo, Matera, Padua, Trento and Pescara, from the Council of Christian Churches of Milan, the Association Ausoni Mountains of Lenola (LT); and more from communities, associations and groups from Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Norway, Czech Rep., Spain and Portugal. Not to mention all the individuals and families that, through sacrifice and love, shared their savings; the numerous initiatives made by children and young people; the fundraising sponsored by the youth movement of the YUW to collect and send blankets…
Our contacts from Syria tell us that the families that are receiving aid share it with the community and thus multiplying it…

Will this network of love that we are witnessing counteract the indifference of the powerful? We think that the pressure of public opinion, supported by real commitment, dedication and sacrifice, has its weight. For this reason we do not cease to believe in peace and work for it. (more…)

 

Friday, January 29, the United Nations held in Geneva the third conference for Syria

This time it seems that the UN has lowered the bar pointing to the negotiations – the third after the two conferences of 2012 and 2014 – by setting more limited goals (or more realistic?) than the previous one. Now the aim is not to find a political solution for peace, but to verify the possibility of creating humanitarian channels to give relief to the civilian population. Yet “the conflict could end today, if the warlords decided to end it”, this is the belief (which we share) of a friend who has lived for many years in Syria and who knows the socio-political reality of that country.

The interests at stake in Syrian conflict, which broke out five years ago, have grown year after year. Initially it involved other parties in the Middle East region then it became the ground for clashes of different countries of the international community. And we Italians, are we just watching? Not really, since we are the main exporters of small arms and light weapons in the world, reality before which we often close our eyes.

We are more sensitive when it comes to solidarity. The Syrian population continues to suffer and die (we are talking about 300,000 deaths in the five years of conflict). “There are days when nothing happens and you could forget there’s a war on, said recently Pascal Bedros, our referent for projects in Syria. On other days it can happen that going to work, you get hit by stray bullets, or see clashes or even bombs suddenly raining down on people and on civilian neighbourhoods.”

The people need all our support, to hear that there are not abandoned, to be assisted, especially in these winter months, against the cold, be cured and fed; or, for those able to emigrate to Europe, to be greeted humanely, as you would expect. Without speaking of those who live for years in refugee camps in the Middle East, without any prospects of life ahead of them.

Alongside the important and essential actions of solidarity, we all need to grow in personal and collective awareness, and make sure that governments do not subordinate the universal good, peace, to other economic and political interests that do not contribute to the common good.

(more…)

 

 

In Bolìvar the first year in the new school San Francisco de Asís is coming to an end, with five classes of primary school and five of secondary school, for a total of 136 students. Let’s meet two of them: Claudia and Francis.

This year, in the primary school, we have decided to set up a system of multiple teachers, a method that has never been experimented before on the Andes of the Bolìvar province. Towards the end of the school year we carried out a specific assessment on this new teaching experience, separately meeting parents and students.

Remarkable progress has been reported in terms of learning; whereas one aspect resulted weaker overall was that of human relations.

For example Claudia, age 9, has had the courage to tell how her relationship with the math teacher was not as good. She felt that the teacher did not consider her as she wished or as she did with other classmates. The opportunity to clarify occurred during the “Youth Festival”, a special day that teachers organise for the students.

In Claudia’s class we could sense that the celebration could not start without a clarification and reconciliation. There has been an endless hug between Claudia and her teacher. «I love you very much Miss, says Claudia, but we cannot continue to argue.» «I don’t think that we actually really argued Claudia, replies the teacher, maybe we haven’t talked enough…from now on we will communicate more and you will see that everything will go just fine. » What to say? That day was a “true” celebration and everyone rejoiced the fruits of that reconciliation, even the parents that during the afternoon came to know what had happened.

Francis is 8 years old and attends the second year of primary school. He has the skills typical of a child with Down syndrome. His parents have found in our school what they were looking for some time: a welcoming and gentle place. But for us as well his presence is fundamental because it gives us the opportunity to experience what people are much talking about here in Peru: school inclusion without any distinction. With Francis we have experimented that love can do everything. With the love of the teachers and school mates, Francis is a happy child and integrated in all class and school activities: it is not surprising in the morning, for example, to see him offer himself to lead the common prayer. In the various educational areas he proceeds at his own learning pace. The communion with his companions, who have learned to accept and love him, it is extraordinary and has cheered everyone’s life.

Father Emeterio Castañeda

(AMU Notizie n. 3/2015) (more…)

 

A project in the North West of Argentina involves 83 families of five different indigenous communities. AMU supports it thanks to the contributions of the businesses of the Economy of Communion.
The project “Sustainable and inclusive tourism in North West Argentina” aims to strengthen, in some communities poor in means of subsistence, the capacity of tourist accommodation, thus incorporating the family income.
“Here we live off agriculture and goat breeding, says Flavia from the community of Quebrada, two activities that allow us just to survive. Therefore we hope that tourism will improve our lives. ”

The women are at the forefront of this project, moreover receiving the “Women solidarity Award” from the Avon Foundation, an award intended to “women who help to change the world”. Paula Renata González, director of our project, was in fact one of three awarded in 2015 for developing “social projects that transform the reality of their communities.”

For more information about this project, go to the description page>>>

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