Posts Tagged ‘thank you!!’
It’s a new year, and a brand new THINKfast kit has arrived!
If you participated in a THINKfast before, you should have received your 2012 THINKfast kit by mail. If not, register your group online, by clicking on the THINKfast tab above, and request a copy, along with your
This year’s kit includes great new activities, peaceful reflections and questions to get your group thinking and talking about small-scale farming and climate change.
Let’s work together to promote ecological justice and raise funds to support Development and Peace partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Last year, THINKfasters raised $193,095! That’s amazing!
A big congratulations to our top regional fundraisers:
St. Thomas Aquinas High School, North Vancouver $7,471
Church of the Ascension, Parksville $2,222
St. Mark’s College, University of Vancouver $2,690
Vanier Catholic Secondary School, Whitehorse $755
J.M. Picard Ecole/School, Edmonton $2,865
St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School, Red Deer $1,911
St. Stephen’s Parish, Central Alberta $3,053
E.D. Feehan Catholic High School, Saskatoon $1,724
St. Peter’s Parish, Regina $325
St. Boniface Diocesan High School, Winnipeg $4,052
St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Winnipeg $1,859
Bishop Reading Catholic High School, Milton $8,707
St. John the Divine Parish, London $3,374
St. Raymond’s Parish, Candiac $170
St. Theresa’s Parish, Fredericton $1,000
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish, Lakeside $4,025
Prince Edward Island:
St. Paul’s Parish, Summerside $170
THANK YOU for all your hard work and for your commitment to helping a just world take root.
Remember, if you have any questions or would like more information about our online fundraising software, the kit or THINKfast in general, please contact Shelley Burgoyne at email@example.com, Raphael Arens at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat Hayward at email@example.com.
Peace and many blessings on your THINKfast this year.
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
Results are pouring in for one of our best THINKfast years ever!
Will you take a minute to fill out our Evaluation form through this online survey? Thank YOU!
Word from the Nelson Youth Justice Rally – February 25, 26 & 27, 2011
The Nelson Youth Rally rocked, shocked, and stirred us all weekend, galvanizing everyone into agents of social action in Nelson and the wider world.
Little did I know what was waiting for me when I set out from Victoria on a snowy Thursday morning to begin the epic journey to Nelson through oceans, mountains, and a multitude of Dairy Queens. Smooth traveling is often preferred, but a total absence of friction on ice-covered roads is a step too far. My intrepid travel companion, Julia, and myself gritted our teeth and slid over the many passes (with names such as “Anarchist” to sooth the nerves!) before descending in ecstatic relief into the little mountain town of Nelson.
The arctic winds were still blowing when the busload (and extra van required en route for overspill) of high school students arrived at St Jo’s school, Nelson, late on Friday. The delays and looks of bus-induced fatigue showed that they suffered in the smae fate on the roads.
However, undeterred, the rally began and energy levels bounced back with the start of Penticton’s finest worship band leading us in high-energy, fist pumping, song and dance. We launched straight into the rally’s theme of “Water for all – Let justice flow!” with an improvised skit, ‘Out of Order’, that was as funny as it was disorganized.
Yet, there was no missing the obvious points made about our perceptions of bottled water – clean, attractive, and convenient – and the contrasting reality – unregulated, unsustainable, and exploitative. Armed with our shiny new re-useable aluminum water bottles, we all returned to our respective territories on classroom floors for a refreshing sleep.
The following morning, a volunteer awoke me by prying the table, which I had taken refuge under for the night, from my grasp. The shock was hers when she found me curled under it, but negotiations over its imminent use for breakfast convinced me to it let go. Semi awake, but well fed, we got organized for the day’s mission: a citywide bottle drive to raise money for the local food bank.
As we set off in our groups, it soon became apparent that serious endurance was required to deal with the pain of freezing extremities and avoid hypothermia in the -15 degree winds. But the effort was well worth it. People greeted us warmly, fully backed our campaign to go “back to the tap,” and heaped empty cans and bottles on our backs so that we ended up shuffling through the snow looking like Sherpas.
The result… over $550 raised for the food bank and 80 participants delighted to defrost and refuel once back indoors.
Later that afternoon we were transformed into little communities spread across lush fields and desert plains in order to simulate the challenges faced in the equitable distribution of water.
Poor families in “Desertia” ended up with high debts, illness, death and still faced water shortages, while others in “Watopia,” by virtue of their good fortune of being located amidst plenty of water, accumulated more wealth and water than they needed. Hearing the different families share their experiences afterwards brought home how complex it can be share equitably, even when everyone is doing their best.
The day ended with a closer look at what Development and Peace is – a member-led international development organization founded by the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops – and how it tries to address challenges, such as those we encountered in our simulation game, through fundraising and education in Canada in order to support partners in the Global South who promote alternatives to unfair social, political and economic structures.
We also heard some personal stories from the leaders about their journeys into social justice activity. Juilio even rocked the house with his freestyle rap!
Before heading back home, after an eventful and thought provoking weekend, we considered how we could bring the ideas and action experienced in Nelson back to our own communities, i.e. how to share the love?!
Without going into details, the journey home for poor Julia and I made the one to Nelson seem like a Sunday afternoon stroll on a sunny day. I am still thanking God that we survived! But on reflection, there is nothing I would rather risk my life for, than quality time with great friends, working to alleviate poverty any way, big or small, and the sense of fun and fullness that is still lasting today.
A BIG shout out to everyone there, all who organized it, and you for checking this out! Peace.
Jacques St. Laurent, Victoria BC
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!
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
On January 12, 2011, the world will be marking the one-year anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti. This is an important time to take stock of the current situation in Haiti, to assess what has been done to support the Haitian population in recovering from this terrible disaster, and to reflect on the enormous challenges remaining to be met.
We are using this occasion to say thanks, once again, to all who so generously responded to our appeal on behalf of the people of Haiti, with donations of more than $20.5 million, and to acknowledge the tireless and determined work of our partners with whom we are participating in rebuilding this shaken country.
Development and Peace is launching a new special dedicated page on our Website, reporting on the first year of reconstruction activities and projects. We encourage you to visit our page and to share this link as widely as possible: http://support.devp.org/site/PageNavigator/Haiti
Two major Canadian daily newspapers – The Globe and Mail and La Presse – will be featuring a series of profiles of our work in Haiti, from Jan 11-13, featuring a different theme and perspective on the inspiring work of our Haitian partners in leading the recovery efforts. Check it out: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/partners/sif/dp/
Thank you to everyone who has helped in this campaign and for your continued generous support to our reconstruction program in Haiti. I am certain that you will share in the justified pride and inspiration that we all feel in learning of the work of our partners, as we join together in expressing our solidarity with our Haitian sisters and brothers.
Michael Casey, Development and Peace
FROM 2009-2010 OUR…
TOP REGIONAL THINKfasters!
British Columbia/Yukon: St Thomas Aquinas High School, North Vancouver $10,851.30 AND St Andrew Catholic High School with Victoria-area parishes $2,424,29
Alberta/North West Territories: J.M. Picard Ecole, Edmonton $2,365.35 AND Holy Trinity Parish, Spruce Grove $1,770.00
Saskatchewan: Sacred Heart CHS, Yorkton $1,920.00 AND St Peter’s Parish, Regina $325.00
Manitoba: St Boniface Diocesan High School, Winnipeg $3,072.00 and St Patrick’s Church, Winnipeg $1,361.25
Ontario: Bishop Reding CHS, Milton $10,784.69 AND St John the Divine Parish, London $2,718.55
Quebec: Villa Maria High School, Montreal$1,215.00 AND St. Agnes Parish, Halifax $500.00
New Brunswick: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Halifax $1,807.35
PEI: St. Pius X & Holy Redeemer Parishes, Charlottetown $782.00
TOP MONEY RAISED!
HIGH SCHOOL: St Thomas Aquinas High School, Vancouver, BC $10,851.30 AND Bishop Reding CHS, Milton, ON $10,784.69
PARISH: St John the Divine Parish, London ON: $2,718.55
UNIVERSITY: Carleton University, Ottawa ON $1,096.84
Immaculate Conception Parish, Prince George, BC $610 (240% increase)
Cardinal Newman CHS, Toronto, ON $750 (220% increase)
St Patrick CHS, Thunder Bay, ON $710 (220% increase)
TOP # of CARDS SIGNED!
St Mary’s CHS, Kitchener: 2, 217 signatures
St Peter’s CSS, Peterborough: 1, 455 signatures
Thank you EVERYONE! Congratulations to our “winners”.
Do you want to know how your group’s THINKfasts have done over the years? Motivate your fellow fasters with startling statistics! Contact us and we will dig up ancient info and find you modern motivating facts (ex. who is your biggest competitor?)!
« Older Entries
As we prepare to take a short break to give thanks for all our bounty, we have some very encouraging news for the victims of the flooding in Pakistan.
Development and Peace’s national collection, recieved through public donations and in our churches, thanks to the support of the CCCB, has allowed us to raise over $ 2.5 million for the Pakistan emergency. Amazing! Of this total, nearly $ 500,000 came from the Toronto diocese, via ShareLife.
Very soon, our Program Officer for Emergency Relief, Barbara Trachsel, is leaving for Asia and will be in Pakistan to assess the situation and to coordinate the next steps in our emergency relief program. She will be keeping us posted, giving us news of our partners and their work, which we will be sure to share with you.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all our members and donors for their incredible support. This situation was receiving very little media coverage and not enough public sympathy. As usual, the collaboration and generosity we have witnessed has impressed us and humbled us.
In great thanks and wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What’s our emergency relief program in Pakistan?
Here’s one example…
Development and Peace is supporting the distribution of aid in all four of the country’s provinces.
It is helping Caritas Pakistan provide food, shelter, non-food items and health care to 12,490 families (see map).
Learn more about our emergency relief programs and updated news from Pakistan here.