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

Tuesday 13 February 2018
Let’s bet on Syria

This is Robert’s request, our local contact for AMU’s “Emergency Syria” Program in his dialogue with Città Nuova…

The first sentence that Robert says in the interview with Maria Chiara De Lorenzo is: “I open the map every day to see where we are fighting”. In fact, in addition to the news of bombings that these days are back in the media, we learn that the fighting outbreaks have never completely died down.

In the following lines we find the story of these years, how the wounds of the bombings have destroyed entire cities: “I did not want to go and see the ruins of Aleppo. Only after three months I found the courage to go out and see the most beautiful parts of the city, razed to the ground – says Robert. ”

But after the discomfort, we need to get up again, with awareness and determination: Syria can do it, with the help of everyone.

To the question “What would you say to those who watch Syria from the outside? What can be done for Syria today?” Robert replies: “Surely, for those with faith, keep praying. And then, bet on the Syrians that the country is alive. We need hope in Syria. We need support – and I’m not talking only from an economic point of view, certainly important – but to believe with us that this country, the cradle of civilization, can be revived again. That peace is still possible. The important thing is not to remain indifferent. And for those who ask themselves: what can I do for Syria? I say: pray, make a personal contribution, a professional can come for a period of voluntary service…now the situation is safer. We need to feel that the world feels our suffering, the suffering of a country that is disappearing. Syria must be there.”


Thanks to your contribution, AMU will continue to support the “Emergency Syria” Program providing, in 2018, assistance to 200 families in Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, and on the coast.

Here you will find the two articles with the complete interview made by Maria Chiara De Lorenzo to Robert:

From Syria to Syria 

Reactivating aid in Syria

Monday 22 January 2018
PROFOR Stories of female ransom in Brazil

The Strengthening Program of Businesses of Inclusion and Communion in Brazil – PROFOR – has many women as protagonists. Many collaborate with their family in various activities and perceive, for the first time, a decent income. Others have managed to get involved as entrepreneurs, generating income for themselves and sometimes for some employees as well.

Decent work also ensures equal access to work for women and men.

From AMU News I-2018 by Lia Guillen

At the head of the Ex-Cola agricultural project in Rio Grande do Norte is a female entrepreneur who, thanks to the start-up capital and the assistance of Profor, she was able to buy a new truck that helped her in her work. The company was born recently, but is following its schedule, from the cultivation of seedlings, up to the collection and sale of the plants. Currently seven families are involved in the business.

Pizza Jane in Bahia is also run by a woman. In this case, solidarity generated more solidarity: the project consultant in charge of this project offered his work for free and helped the businesswoman to form a network of contacts to support her. This is how the collaboration with a designer is born to develop a logo and to organize a crowd funding campaign. Thanks to all this support, she managed to get out of her vulnerable situation and regain confidence and strength to continue her dream.

Ana Rita is also part of the Profor program, realizing her project “Cuidar de Viver”, a social service of accompaniment for elderly or people with disabilities. At the beginning, when she met Profor, the project was just an idea, and then with the help of the trainers, the project started to develop. And after obtaining the different health authorizations, she could begin.

Finally, there is the beauty salon “Graça e Beleza” in Bahia that has had positive results on the financial plan. It was already considered a sustainable business only after 3 months from receiving the capital. The success of the project not only gave a fixed work and a steady income to the owner, previously unemployed and without immediate job prospects. In addition to this, today the activity employs 3 more people with a fixed income.

If you want to support the PROFOR Program to create decent and inclusive work opportunities – click here

Monday 15 January 2018
Peru, a quality school (in every sense)

The latest news from the Andes inform us that the school runs steadily, the recent improvements have been finished and as for today more than 250 children and teenagers of the community of Bolivàr can access to quality education, a better lifestyle and a healthier and more complete diet.

The construction of the Parish Educational Centre is now complete, including the last small improvement or maintenance interventions such as the construction of the external sidewalk, and the paving and covering of a part of the main patio. At this stage, particular attention was paid to the efficiency of the funds use for the construction of the infrastructure. At the end of the works, the final cost was about 2.5 times lower than of similar public facilities in the province.

The third year of the project was characterized by nutritional and educational support to pupils and by teachers’ training. To enable more families to send their children to school, more than 100 “student packs” were delivered with notebooks, pens, colouring crayons, uniforms and educational material, and over 100 meals a day were prepared thanks to the fundamental collaboration of the parents.

Furthermore, the training activity for teachers has developed even more this year. The aim of the project was to give access to quality education for boys and girls coming from the most isolated areas of the Bolívar province.

Assessment tests by the Peruvian Ministry of Education have ranked our school at the top regional schools listing, with a quality of learning about 3 times higher than the national average.

“A school in the Andes” project has brought a quality school, both for the construction of the building and maintenance work, and for the type of teacher training and quality of life of boys and girls attending the school. Today the presence of AMU is no longer necessary and the centre can continue by its own.

All this has been possible thanks to your interest and your support, so we invite you to follow us and to continue contributing to projects supporting education and the growth of young people in difficult conditions.

Sunday 7 January 2018
Hope returns in Syria – News from AMU projects

Click to enlarge the image

The situation in Syria has evolved very rapidly in the last six months. The Syrian government has been able to free and reacquire cities, villages and land that was occupied by ISIS or by other armed factions.

Since December 2016, the entire city of Aleppo has returned under the control of the Syrian government. Life is slowly returning to normal. Displacements are long and difficult. Drinking water comes every 3 days and electricity is more regular than before.

The main problems remain the high cost of living, the lack of work on the one hand and the lack of young people and specialized manpower on the other. This is mainly due to migration and the continuous and massive military recruitment. Another phenomenon of great concern is the increase of street children (orphans or abandoned), beggars, displaced people in search of food and basic necessities.

These conditions of life are also found in other large cities such as Damascus and Homs.

In recent years the Church has tried to live its “vocation” – as defined by the Catholic bishop Georges Abou Khazen, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo – to testify Christ by underlining the need for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among all the parties, in a country where 23 different ethnic and religious groups live. A work that we are trying to achieve also thanks to the aid from all over the world and that has served to bring together a population divided by war.

From AMU Notizie – 2 – 2017

To support the projects for Siria click here to donate now