“Fighting against poverty”

Countless concrete actions for international solidarity. The role of Manos Unidas, the intervention of the dioceses

Manos Unidas, the NGO for development of the Spanish Catholic Church, that celebrated its National Day on Sunday, devotes its 2015 campaign to the fight against poverty. The new campaign marked by the slogan “We fight against poverty” and by the hashtag #ContralaPobrezaMU, was launched a few days ago. It can rely on the collections carried out by Spanish dioceses that will be devolved to fund over one thousand development projects in more than sixty countries around the world. The 56th campaign Manos Unidas features the work carried out by the NGO over the past eight years as part of the Millennium Development Goals. The purpose is to open new avenues in the fight against poverty. Only in 2014, the NGO has approved 608 new projects by allocating nearly 47 million euro in cooperation initiatives. With everyone’s commitment. The chairperson of Manos Unidas, Soledad Suárez, recalled: “in 2015 the United Nations will ratify the sustainable development goals” and the new campaign is an appeal “to Spanish society to step up efforts, to ensure feasible results that will provide opportunities to millions of ‘invisible’ persons, stripped of their rights, excluded from the decision-making process to the benefit of those in positions of power.” For the campaign were chosen two testimonials: Jorge Crisafulli, a missionary in Argentina, provincial superior of the Salesians in the English-speaking Province in Western Africa, and Sister Caridad Paramundayil, missionary of the Order of the Adorers in India. For the first, who is the coordinator of various cooperation development projects that Manos Unidas finances in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, “education transforms cultures and societies. An educated people can hardly be manipulated and oppressed.” The commitment of the Adorers missionaries, the first of the kind in the state of Orissa, from which they were expelled by the persecution of Christians in 2008, and now in West Bengal, to release women from prostitution, is the experience of Sister Caridad Paramundayil. The missionaries also help the daughters of these women to prevent them from being marginalized because of their mothers. Besides these two testimonials, for the 2015 campaign twenty-six missionaries, responsible for cooperation projects, will visit 55 Spanish cities to share their experiences of fighting poverty in 17 countries. The commitment of the dioceses. The campaign directly involves Spanish dioceses. For example, the diocese of Guadix will devolve the collected funds to the reconstruction of a high-school in Madagascar, a project that requires 42 thousand euro. The fight on poverty will take place in schools with the transmission of culture, enabling many boys and girls to exit the vicious cycle of poverty and face the future with hope. It is hoped that the needed sums will be collected through charity initiatives of various kinds. The high-school will be built in the rural area of Ambohibary, in the province of Antsibare. Moreover, the diocese of Granada will promote a project for the improvement of health and nutrition in the rural schools of Ocurí (Bolivia), a development program for women and youths through education in Bettiah (India), another for psychological and social support in a refugee camp in Maban (South Sudan), along with a project for access to vocational training for minors at risk in Neak Loeung (Cambodia). The collected sums will be used to build a boarding school for girls in Moulovibazar (Bangladesh), four wards in the rural hospital of Champhira (Malawi), for the building and furnishing of a school in Nouakchot (Mauritania), to extend a centre for street children in Aligarh (India), for the restructuring of the community channel of Ikutha Nguni in Nairobi (Kenya). Concrete projects. The Seville diocesan delegation of Manos Unidas has pledged to finance, with 550thousand euro, sixteen development projects in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. In each of these areas priority will be given to the needs identified by the missionaries and aid workers in these countries: in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, women’s rights and development. The diocesan delegation of Manos Unidas of Asidonia-Jerez intends to collect 228thousand euro in 2015 for the implementation of three projects. The first for the building of four primary school classes in Zimbabwe, the second for food safety and the recapitalization of small farmers in Haiti and the third in support of productive initiatives to ensure food in El Salvador.

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