Posts Tagged ‘SoLiDaRiTy’
by Fanny Magnificat:
As I walked in the hall of St. Luke’s Catholic Church, the buzzing and the moving of the people was a blessing as I looked around. So many guests were there and sat. On the microphone was one of the most energetic emcee I’ve encountered so far. She introduced Development and Peace with the simplicity of someone who desires to get the message across to a child.
I was in for a surprise as the evening slowly unfolded; I thought I knew what Development and Peace is about, but I got dunked as the educational videos began to play throughout the evening in between the performances.
Then I wondered and pondered: “Seriously Fanny, up to now what did you know?” It took that evening to radically get me back on track and appreciate another wealthy area of the church. Up to this point, I knew about the donations we make to support, the presence of that ministry at some point in parish, the Lenten campaign but I faced the sad but true reality; I did not start going deeper until this semester when I was driven to interview Ms. Jana Drapal, who then informed me about the time for the Gala. Our beloved Lord has ways to show us the ultimate Way to His work among his flock. Education wise that night, I must congratulate the whole team for bringing back on a regular basis on why we were there. Today in my words, I may say that Development and Peace is the Catholic Organization that is truly showing the Love of Christ in actions through the partners the Lord has blessed her to work, and all her members within all the lands it has established itself. That is the Gospel in motion.
Yet the evening, the gala night, did not resume only itself to the educational videos, it represented talents from all continents where Development and Peace is involved; it ranged from Asia to Africa and from the Oceania to America not forgetting we had a European touch with the presence of the Polish Dance. Performances were outstanding, the DJ was outstanding, all those who volunteered and brought a dish, the organization was second to none. Our good Lord could not have made this evening any better as it ended with free salsa lessons. What about the restaurants that donated dishes. The night even featured a little auction dance time. Our beloved emcee offered to volunteer her dancing skill to a Salsa tune if we could raise altogether $100 in donation. It was instantly offered by a gentleman, the stakes were then raised to $300. Target was reached, and the promise fulfilled; she danced to a wonderful salsa song with the DJ, who happened to be an expert when it comes to latin dance. As a matter of fact, he performed that evening thus promoting his dance school.
My blessed friends, what to say, if not to confirm that as people joined from all walks to be together that night, the Holy Trinity acted to show the beauty of the Catholic Church in action through Development & Peace. For me personally, it was a night of fellowship, education, testimony, simplicity, the making of new friends in Christ from other Christian families; I met a wonderful lady from the Coptic Church who had come to support us, and what development & peace does that night. This for me definitely falls under the new evangelization.
At last but not least, from performing on stage I joyfully accepted to no longer be a distant member, but to truly embrace as a Catholic Christian Artist, the call to be an ambassador of Development & Peace. For those who’ve been praying for God to raise more labourers for the harvest, carry on. I entrust myself to your prayers and all the members of Development & Peace that the Holy Trinity may move many of us to never get tired to work in spreading the Good News through our thoughts, words and deeds. As Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes more and more the missionary call of every Catholic, let us rise in supporting Development and Peace by showing every day in our life, in our workplace, in our neighbourhood the grace and uniqueness of being a Catholic in Action. Let us more than ever be a voice for the voiceless, the hands of Christ in the world, His yes. Let us be willing to go wherever He sends us. More and more are needed lay people who are willing to take the Good News to others just like our heavenly mother Mary has taken Christ to Elizabeth. As Catholic Christians, it is our duty more than ever to grow more and more curious about our faith in order to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ from the other Christian families. We are called to be the Trinitarian missionaries of the 21st Century.
I kindly thank the Development and Peace team for giving me the opportunity to share what I’ve been blessed with at the Gala night.
The Role of Civil Society in Lebanon
Let’s start with a definition. Civil society is the people and groups that form the basis of a functioning society that are not part of the government (regardless of that state’s political system) or business institutions. Civil society tries to protect people against human rights abuses and try to protect freedom of speech and other individual rights. Organizations that are part of civil society include political parties, trade unions, human rights organizations, newspapers, community groups, faith-based and charititable organizations (definition from here).
How does one begin to articulate how incredibly important civil society is in a country like Lebanon? When a government is unable or unwilling to provide for the needs of its people, it is left to individuals and groups to advance their common interests.
This may take the form of a women’s group implementing a daycare program in a high-needs area, or a faith-based organization advocating for the rights of migrant workers and refugees, or a coalition which endeavours to build peace within a divided society.
The depth and breadth of issues addressed by civil society groups is awe-inspiring! It seems that when there is a need, people from diverse backgrounds quickly come together to work towards a solution.
It truly was a humbling and amazing opportunity to meet Development & Peace partners who work tirelessly within Lebanon, and the wider region, to bring about positive change.
It also reminded me that people are experts in their own experience, and that collaborating with and supporting our partners throughout the world is truly the most effective means of eradicating unjust social, economic, and political structures.
by Alex Wright
The Lebanese responding to local needs in Lebanon
Caritas MONA is based in Beirut, which allowed us the opportunity to spend three days with the staff during which we learnt about, and visited, some excellent projects, from the regional level to the local level. (Click here for part one of our time with Caritas MONA).
Yesterday, Caritas MONA took us to see a few of the local on-the-ground projects that are meeting the needs of local people in Beirut and Lebanon. Firstly, we met with “The Voice of Lebanese Women”, founded after the war by women volunteers who sought to rebuild their community and to support the many newly-widowed women.
The centre currently provides daycare for more than 55 children at just $50 per month, with free services for those without the means to pay. Women are able to get English lessons, vocational training, and can access start up materials for small enterprises. Teenagers have programs to teach them life skills and are able to explore personal themes through theatre. A recent initiative supported by the US embassy and Caritas U.S. (Catholic Relief Services) provides one month of training on citizenship, teamwork, tolerance, and conflict resolution. This is followed up by the creation of a mock cabinet through which youth simulate the political process in Lebanon.
In the afternoon, we were taken to the large industrial headquarters of “Arcenciel” (arc en ceil means rainbow in french), an organization that attends to the needs of people with disabilities. The facilities contain a number of large workshops, which produce many mobility tools (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and more), to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Arcenciel employs people with disabilities in order to help them gain skills and become more independent – all the wheelchairs in Lebanon come from this workshop. The facilities also provide free dental care, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and job placement services.
The final project that we witnessed on our tour of Beirut was a drop-in centre that provides support to people living with HIV/AIDS and/or drug addiction. The Centre trains Peer Outreach Workers to provide information and harm-reduction materials to at-risk people, for example gay men and sex workers. The Outreach Workers are also trained to be able to provide on-the-spot testing for HIV and Hepatitis. The increasing demand for drug rehabilitation led the Centre to provide a safe haven for drug-users 2 nights a week, and follow-up with patients on the other 3 nights a week while the Centre is open. Beyond medical assistance, the Centre also provides a social community, legal services, and counseling. New programs are using psychodrama and theatre to help clients deal with their addictions.
In one day we had a chance to see 3 very innovative centres that have developped locally to respond to the needs of the vulnerable and excluded in Lebanon. An excellent snapshot of what grassroots development looks like!
by Jacques St. Laurent
Development and Peace UVic was delighted to have William Goldiet, founder and president of the St. Bakhita Anakdiar Peace Foundation, come and speak to us about his life our first THINKfast! on the UVic campus.
William was born in Southern Sudan, but moved to Lebanon as a UN recognized refugee. Unfortunately the Lebanese government did not recognize the UN refugee status held by William and many of his fellow Sudanese. As a result, William was jailed three times during his time in Lebanon, as were many of the Sudanese community. In response, William founded the Fellowship of the Sudanese congregations in Lebanon (FSCL) as well as the St. Bakhita Group in Lebanon to provide support for Sudanese families.
Three years ago the diocese of Victoria, BC, sponsored William to move to Canada. Since arriving he has become the president of the African Heritage Association on Vancouver Island that represents all African and Caribbean people in Canada.
William’s aim is to support communities in Southern Sudan, as the region becomes a new nation this July, as well as provide help to Sudanese people who immigrate to Canada. He created the St. Bakhita Anakdiar Peace Foundation (Sabapef) to contribute in the development of the southern Sudanese self-efficacy in conflict management to deescalate tribal hostility. The Sabapef works hand in hand with the local people and various communities to provide social services in villages in south Sudan, and also assists Sudanese immigrants to settle and integrate into Canadian communities.
Sabapef believes that investing in early childhood development will prepare children to help themselves and to contribute in creating a peaceful, respectful, responsible, united and just society. To this end, Sabapef provides vocational training, shelters, healthcare, education, legal aid, social services and counseling to foster child dignity and empower them with a sense of meaning and purpose.
Development and Peace UVic was delighted to have William come and share his message of hope for Southern Sudan and the Sudanese people living at home or abroad. We were inspired by his courageous actions to support marginalized communities and his desire to remain in solidarity with Sudanese people throughout the world. Keep an eye out for the creation of an independent Southern Sudan, expected to happen on the 9th July, and remain in solidarity with all the people of the region!
Development and Peace Launches Graphic Novel that Tells Story of Hope in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
READ OUR NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!
BUILDING A WORLD OF JUSTICE is our theme for Lent 2011!
Join us for Share Lent 2011 — the annual awareness and fundraising campaign of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Through your generous donations to Development and Peace this and every Lent, you help build a world of justice.
THE NEW BLOG IS LIVE!
This year, in addition to the printed material, Development and Peace has also created an interactive blog that will use the testimony of members to publicize the work being carried out by its partners in the Global South.
You will find photos, videos and articles to share, a calendar of events and all the resources you need to a rocking Share Lent in your school or parish!
This year, for the very first time, you can participate in our online fundraising efforts for Share Lent by creating a personal page. Offer your talents to those who need them (music, gardening, cooking) and, in exchange, ask your entourage to give to Development and Peace.
So, check it out. See you over at the Share Lent blog!
March 8, this year, International Women’s Day is 100 years old!
Here is a flashback to what it was like in…
More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’s ‘Bread and Roses‘ campaign.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.
excerpts from http://www.internationalwomensday.com/
At Development and Peace
Partner Profile: Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC)
The AWRC is an organization that uses microcredit to help Afghan women start small businesses and generate revenues so that they may fight their way out of poverty.
For Pary Gul, 30, the AWRC has changed her life and that of her family. She lives with her husband, their four children as well as her mother. With so many people to support, the family simply could not meet its basic needs.
Thanks to a loan of 5,000 afghanis (about $120.00) from the AWRC, Pary was able to buy a small bread oven and firewood and start baking dough brought to her by the community’s other women. After two months, Pary started preparing regional dishes (sambosa, manto and bolani) and baking her own bread in a traditional Afghan clay oven called a tanor, while her husband busied himself selling the bread. Through monthly payments, she managed to repay her loan quickly while providing for her family.
for more on our programs in Afghanistan: http://www.devp.org/devpme/eng/international/afghanistan-eng.html
Today let’s give thanks for, and celebrate, the strength and wisdom of women — sisters around the world who are working with their families and communities, in peace and with justice, to bring about God’s reign on earth!
by Genevieve Gallant
Since early December, hundreds of private contractors of multinational banana corporation Banacol have illegally invaded and occupied Afro-Colombian peace communities in the Curvaradó river basin in order to clear the land for banana cultivation.
Their actions have been supported and assisted by local paramilitaries, army soldiers and municipal governments.
The peace communities’ collective territory is protected under Colombia’s Constitution and protective measures under the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. According to documents released by the Colombian human rights organization, Intereclesial Comisión de Justicia y Paz (Justicia y Paz) , Banacol workers are displacing vulnerable Afro-Colombian peace communities, thus enabling the corporation to occupy sections of communal, resource rich land.
This violates the sovereignty of the long-standing communities, and puts them at risk for complete displacement from their collective territory in a country with almost 5 million internally displaced people. They are also bulldozing the subsistence farmers’ crops, destroying natural habitats and contaminating waterways.
Flyers posted in poor neighborhoods and communities across the northwestern part of the country lured the squatters into Curvaradó in the Urabá region of Chocó, Colombia. The flyers assured three months of paid living expenses, titles to 2.5-hectare plots, materials and pay to build settlements, and a contract with Banacol Inc. to grow bananas.
What the flyers didn’t include is that the Curvaradó territory is already inhabited by Afro-descendent communities, committed to maintain their collective territories, granted to them under law 70 of Colombia (1993), which recognizes and protects Afro-Colombians’ right to collectively own and occupy their ancestral territory.
The “bad-faith occupiers,” as the Curvaradó residents call them, are mainly made up of vulnerable individuals; some displaced by violence in other regions of the country, some farmers without land, and others recently unemployed by palm oil or banana plantations. Unfortunately, their vulnerable situations put them at risk to be taken advantage of by the corporate agenda, promising them “the good life”, and thus at risk to further impoverish other vulnerable communities for their gain.
According to the ancestral inhabitants, the invaders admit that they collectively own the land, but contend to remain on the stolen plots because it is their only opportunity for work. Banacol, as so many other multinational corporations, has pitted these vulnerable populations against one another, putting them at higher risk of oppression.
The squatters say they expect to receive up to 180,000 pesos ($90 U.S.) for each hectare cleared. So far, according to Justicia y Paz, they have cleared-out over 200 hectares and built over 122 temporary huts and camps. The “bad-faith occupiers” are still arriving by the hundreds. Although the squatters would not identify who the money is coming from, the promised contracts with Banacol implicates them as the instigators and funders of an intended illegal displacement for profit.
The peace communities filed a legal complaint with the municipality of Carmen del Darién, but no response has been taken by local authorities thus far. The Carmen del Darién police ordered an eviction of the illegal occupiers, but then said that they do not have the resources to carry out such an action.
The most recent demonstration of state support and collusion with the illegal occupation was the funneling of flood victims relief funds to the illegal land invaders by the Mayors Office in Carmen del Darién, according to Justicia y Paz.
For more on History + Consequences of Occupation + Banacol’s Bloody Bananas
in Multinational Banana Corporation Displaces Afro-Colombian Peace Communities
by Megan Felt
ONE-YEAR REPORT: SEE HOW YOUR SOLIDARITY IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN HAITI!
A few numbers:
- DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE receieved $20 million from the Canadian public for reconstruction in Haiti.
- $1 million came from schools and student fundraising.
- DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has been present in Haiti for over 40 years.
- With the Caritas Internationalis network, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE provided humanitarian assistance (food, water, tents, mobile clinics) to more than 2.3 million Haitian men and women, in the first 6 months.
- So far, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has spent $5 million on emergency and reconstruction projects with its 25 partners in Haiti and has committed an additional $10 million for the next three years.
Our reconstruction program with some concrete examples:
Support to our civil society partners so they can re-establish their activities:
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has helped its partners restart their activities by financing a solidarity fund that has enabled staff to get back to work and is also providing financial aid for rebuilding their offices and replacing essential equipment.
Reconstruction of houses in areas directly affected by the earthquake:
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, in partnership with Caritas Switzerland, is supporting local group Iteca in their program to rebuild 1,700 permanent houses in Gressier using local materials.
Getting children back in school:
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is helping children directly affected by the earthquake to return to school by financing school canteens, purchasing equipment and subsidizing teachers’ salaries;
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is collaborating with CECI in rebuilding a primary school for 850 students that is operated by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
Promoting the special needs and interests of women:
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is supporting women’s organizations that are taking action on the issue of protecting women and children in the IDP camps – security patrols in the camps, raising awareness about violence against women, supporting victims of violence – and are promoting the rights of women in Jacmel and Port-au-Prince.
Promoting food security, with a focus on food sovereignty through ecological and responsible agriculture in response to environmental degradation in the country:
With the support of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, the Papaye Peasants’ Movement (MPP):
- Has distributed seeds to more than 20,500 farming families affected by the earthquake;
- Is implementing a major three-year program to strengthen the food security of farmers in the Central Plateau.
Monitoring human rights in the post-earthquake context:
The National Human Rights Defence Network (RNDDH) works on defending, promoting and protecting human rights in post-earthquake Haiti; it also promotes a state of law, has participated in election monitoring, etc.
Strengthening communications in order to ensure that the viewpoint of civil society is known to the public and to better inform communities about reconstruction and disaster-prevention issues:
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE supports two community radio associations in the country. REFRAKA, which produces women-oriented programming, and SAKS are both creating content adapted to the post-quake context for broadcast on member community radio stations across the country. They also offer their members technical training and journalism courses.
TO LEARN MORE and to send a MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY to the people of Haiti, click on the banner below!
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Getting youth involved in the reconstruction of Haiti
JACHA, a youth organization in Jacmel, has long been working to improve the future of Haiti by looking after two of the country’s best resources: its youth and the environment.
The organization brings the two together by teaching youth about the importance of the country’s environment and by actively engaging them in preservation activities, such as tree planting and organizing awareness campaigns in their communities.
Jacmel was not spared by the January 12th earthquake. This cultural capital of Haiti lost many of its heritage buildings and a large portion of the city’s residents are now living in camp sites that dot the landscape of this coastal town.
With the city covered in rubble and people moving into the crowded tent cities, JACHA recognized an urgent need to ensure that these spaces did not quickly fill with rubbish and increase the potential for the spread of disease.
The organization quickly put together a cash-for-work program supported by DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE that mobilized over one hundred youth members of the organization and dispatched them to camps to organize clean-up committees and speak to residents on how to manage waste and keep their surroundings clean.
“Life in the camps is impossible. No one looks after us,” says Dayana Alexandre, 21, who lives with five other people in a tent. “At least with the activities from JACHA, I feel better and safer. They are helping me develop,” she says.
The importance of this kind of work in the camps became frighteningly evident with the rapid spread of cholera in the country.
As soon as news of the dissemination of the disease broke, JACHA asked its youth members to speak to residents on precautions they can take to prevent the spread of cholera. Although, there have been some cases in Jacmel, the city has mostly been spared from the disease.
In fact, disaster prevention has become a large part of JACHA’s work and when the hurricane season was approaching, members worked diligently in the camps to warn people of what and what not to do to remain safe.
“If people had known what to do in the earthquake, we would not have lost so many people. That is very sad. That is why we wanted to start a prevention program. Why we had to,” says Jackson Marcelin, one of the coordinator’s at JACHA.
JACHA, however, is also concerned with giving youth the opportunity to improve their future prospects so they can flourish. They organize a variety of classes for their youth members, who range in ages from 15 to 30.
The courtyard of the organization is always full of young faces chatting and laughing. Some are there for English or computers courses, while others gather for cooking classes. JACHA even organized a papier-mâché workshop for some local kids. It is an art form that Jacmel is renowned for, and despite the city losing some of its heritage in the earthquake, at least other forms are being preserved and appreciated by a new generation of Jacmelians.
Read more at: One Year of Solidarity with Haiti