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Caritas-FOCSIV campaign: “Don’t forget the poorest countries hit by the pandemic”

The deadline of the "Give us this day our daily bread" campaign, promoted by Caritas Italy and FOCSIV to financially support 64 projects in 45 world countries and raise awareness on the impact of the pandemic on the poorest, has been extended to April 2021

The indigenous people of Roraima, Brazil, severely hit by the pandemic but neglected by the central government. Small social enterprises for the integration of the disabled or disadvantaged in the Balkans, forced to close or reduce their business activity due to restrictions, with consequent job losses. Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar who have been living for years in settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, facing a difficult situation exacerbated by the epidemic. Endemic poverty in Mozambique and agricultural development projects in one of the poorest regions.

64 projects in 45 countries. These are just some of 64 projects to be financed by the “Give us this day our daily bread” campaign launched last July by Caritas Italy and FOCSIV in response to the “hunger pandemic”, recently extended to April 2021. The 64 projects are the fruit of the efforts of local Churches and Caritas, in conjunction with NGOs members of FOCSIV in 45 countries of Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Millions of poor and impoverished families facing the threat of contagion are in danger of not receiving treatment and medicine for lack of funds or of being denied access to a number of services. Areas of intervention include healthcare and the family, women, migrants and refugees, education and employment.

EUR 200,000 raised so far. “We raised €200,000 to date,” Paolo Beccegato, vice-director of Caritas Italy, told SIR. “It amounts to a fifth of the €1 million target we were hoping for.” Why? “While there is no lack of solidarity,” he noted, “and people with a guaranteed income have even managed to save money over this last period (working from home means fewer expenses), a large number of Italians are out of work and in financial distress, worried about themselves and their fellow countrymen. Donors choose to help poor Italian families.”  Caritas Italy raised over €5 million with its “The concreteness of charity” campaign during the last lockdown, linked to the health crisis.

Raising awareness in communities. At a time when all the news coverage focuses on COVID-19 and national dynamics, making people aware of requests for help and support coming from many different parts of the world, perceived as distant, is a major challenge. The website www.insiemepergliultimi.it features articles, materials and in-depth reports published by the two Church organizations to inform and involve Christian communities. Response is improving on this last aspect. A number of diocesan Caritas centres held meetings in their local areas or took part in online webinars.

The campaign tackles a different issue each month, ranging from hunger, healthcare, employment, educational poverty, women, migrants. Social cohesion and inequalities, two areas suffering the impact of the pandemic, are among the themes to be discussed between now and April. “Social tensions and problems linked to the psychological-relational dimension are increasing”, Beccegato remarked. “Furthermore, inequalities are increasing at a dramatic rate, with the gap between the rich and the poor growing wider every day. While most people are becoming increasingly poor

pharmaceutical companies, technology and IT companies, and large-scale delivery businesses are growing richer.”

The appeals of Caritas and FOCSIV. Caritas Italy and FOCSIV plan to send out political messages to public opinion in March, before concluding the campaign at Easter with a call for hope directed at the ecclesial community. “Don’t forget the poor countries,” Beccegato concludes outlining the appeal. “Local Churches must be supported in carrying out projects stemming from concrete needs. Donations are not distributed with a scattergun approach”, he pointed out. “There are concrete needs that must be met, even if only with a small token of support”. Donations can also be made at www.insiemepergliultimi.it

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