“Let’s study well the reality, the numbers, the causes, the structural reasons,… but equally let’s dialogue with the people, the concrete situations, the local and global answers that, as people, community, neighbourhood or NGO we can offer to those who are by our side or to those who are entrusted to us.”
This was the invitation of Artur Teixeira CMF, the General Prefect of Apostolate and President of the Fondazione PROCLADE Internazionale-onlus at the Webinar organized to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
This year, on October 17, the Solidarity and Mission Team of the Congregation joined this commemoration by organizing a webinar, with the theme, “THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY IN THE FRAGILE AND HUMANITARIAN CONTEXT OF COVID-19”
The commemoration of the International Day against Poverty originated 32 years ago on October17, 1987 in Paris where more than 100,000 people gathered under the inspiration of Joseph Wresinku, a French priest, son of a Spanish mother and Polish father, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. Twenty-seven years ago, on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Father Artur Teixeira cmf presented the meaning of the realization of this webinar, welcomed the participants and invited them to continue the evangelizing action as a contribution to the Eradication of Poverty.
This event was moderated by Cesar Augusto Espinoza CMF, from Guatemala and the Central American Province. He is the JPIC secretary of the Province and part of the Coordinating Team of the Solidarity and Mission of MICLA (SOMI MICLA).
George Kannanthanam CMF from the Bangalore Province, India, who is a well-known social worker and founder of many humanitarian programs addressed the gathering on “Reasons for Focusing on Poverty Eradication and the ways to do it”. He put forward ten proposals, stating that the congregation must take on the alleviation of poverty with greater radicality, having as its horizon the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, which must be incorporated into our congregational agenda.
George further stated: “The problem is not that we do not have enough. The problem is that we do not share enough. There are more food and resources available in the world today than ever before. We do not need a food revolution. We just need a better distribution of food. A new civilization of sharing.”
A second speaker in this webinar was Robert Omondi CMF who belongs to the St. Charles Lwanga Independent Delegation of East Africa. He is currently the coordinator of SOMI ACLA (Africa), a passionate justice-seeker and peacebuilder. Robert intervened by presenting “The eradication of poverty as an action of enforceability of rights and construction of social justice”.
Robert posed some questions for the Congregation: How do we reconcile and upgrade the prevalent good ‘Samaritan approach’ to poverty with the prophetic call to engage the deep-rooted structural and systemic poverty in our missions? In our congregational setup, how do we frame /package all these efforts to make them an integral part of our formation, contemplation, planning, implementation and evaluation processes of our apostolates? With regard to the eradication of poverty, he invited the Congregation to rethink the mapping and the Claretian presence from the perspective of Poverty and the Incorporation of the human rights-based approach in the ecclesiastical framework of the evangelizing action and made few proposals towards achieving it.
Pachi González-Vallarino, a Lay Claretian from Seville, southern Spain, who is a collaborator in PROCLADE BETICA and coordinator of the international volunteer program with the NGO “Entre Culturas Fe y Alegría”, also participated as a panellist. She presented the ideas around the Eradication of Poverty from her own volunteering experiences in refugee camps in Sahara, at Bateyes, the Dominican Republic where Haitian communities live and in Ecuador. cooperation projects and the search for donors. She mentioned that a phrase that she heard in a Claretian retreat inspired her to choose volunteering is, “We are a people on the move building tomorrow.”
The last speaker of this Webinar was Diana Gutiérrez, Director of the Global Business for Gender Equality Program of the United Nations Development Program – UNDP, with a decade of experience in the United Nations, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Colombia as a Project Manager for Inclusive Economic Development. She focused her address on the theme, fighting poverty in this fragile and humanitarian context of COVID-19. She narrated how the COVID-19 has affected not only the health situation but also made a great impact on social and economic life. Sighting the UNDP, ILO sources she brought to the attention of all that there will be close to 70 to 100 million people fall into poverty and close 400 million jobs lost before the end of 2020. She presented a 7-point pathway to recovery as choices for the post-COVID future.
This event was supported by the simultaneous translation into English, Spanish and French by Francisco San Martín CMF (Panchi) – (Argentina, Province of San José del Sur) Reegan Soosai CMF (Canada, Province of USA-Canada) and Cecile de Caunes (From France, works in Colombia)
This webinar was organized by General SOMI with a team made up of Stéphane Uyungu CMF (Independent Delegation of Congo) Gabriel Ponce Carpintero CMF (Spain, Province of Fatima) Satheesh Saverimuthu CMF (Sri Lanka – Independent Delegation of St. Joseph Vaz).
More than one hundred Claretians and Claretian associates from 32 countries participated in this event, some of them connected as a community, including the formation houses. The 3rd Assembly of SOMI- MICLA incorporated this webinar in the agenda of their assembly and many participants of the Assembly were present at the webinar.