Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
March 26, 2001
CCODP brings good news to the poor
Share Lent campaign raises awareness and funds
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
"After the damage done to our island by a Canadian mining company, it is good for us to know that organizations in Canada are working so that such disasters don't happen again. We appreciate what you are doing."
(Vilma Piguerra, from the island of Mariniduque, the Philippines, who visited Canada last fall. She was here to speak about the 25-year struggle of the people and Church of her island to protect their health, environment and livelihood in the face of disastrous mining practices.)
"Like you in Development and Peace, I believe it is possible to change the world. We (in Chiapas, Mexico) have become very close to D&P. We are working together, we are sharing from such different worlds and still we are on the same path.
"That is something miraculous about the world we are living in. It is one benefit of globalization. So I am confident that if we are able to be brothers and sisters, we can transform globalization into something beautiful."
(Father Gonzalo Ituarte, vicar-general of the Diocese of San Cristobal, Chiapas. D&P supports peace-building, human rights work and economic self-sufficiency in this region of Mexico. D&P's ties to the heroic work of this diocese have been strengthened through the number of Canadians who have visited there.)
In 1999-2000, Development and Peace committed itself to financially support 253 development programs and projects in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The comments above are typical of those made by groups and individuals who receive support from Development and Peace.
The annual Share Lent fundraising campaign for Development and Peace began on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 28. During this campaign, Development and Peace solicits donations from Canadian Catholics to provide funding for projects run by local groups in partner countries.
These groups include: village organizations, women's groups, co-operatives, unions, federations of fishers and artisans, education and community development organizations, human rights networks, and non-governmental development organizations. The theme for this campaign is, The Earth Is For All.
CCODP was founded in 1967 by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The organization's primary mission in Canada is to increase public awareness and to lobby on behalf of the poor of the world.
National campaigns draw attention to situations that threaten the livelihood and often the very lives of people throughout the South. Typical Development and Peace projects concern people's right to better education and job opportunities, or issues related to the environment, women's rights, agrarian reform, housing and co-operative movements.
Development and Peace's educational and lobby activities are vital ingredients to the elimination of poverty and injustice over the longer term. These augment the financial support that the organization provides to its partners in the South.
Through its network of 3,000 members across Canada, Development and Peace challenges the Canadian public to actively participate in building a more just world by denouncing situations that oppress the poor and vulnerable.
Some examples are: the deplorable living conditions faced by child domestics in Haiti, the flagrant violations of human and indigenous rights in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala, and the deliberate denial of land to small farmers in Brazil.
The organization is deeply committed to ensuring fair and equitable relations between women and men, both within the organization and in the projects they support.
Development and Peace believes Canadians of all religious beliefs have a responsibility to help the world's poor and disadvantaged, either by urging governments, corporations and others to implement change, or by donating time or money to support development.
Do education campaigns and lobby efforts have results? Definitely. In the case of world debt, the resources dedicated to campaigning helped to eliminate $15 billion worth of the debt on nine Third World countries.
After the enormous success of the international debt campaign, Development and Peace is now focusing on the theme of Redistribution of Wealth, which is also the focus of the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative.
Land and access to it is essential to the survival of people on the planet. With millions still pushed to the edges of society by poverty and injustice today, the poor who make up two-thirds of our world still struggle for their livelihoods. The gap between the very rich and the very poor is now huge.
Although Development and Peace's primary role is to support development programs, as a member of Caritas Internationalis, the international Catholic humanitarian response network, they can also channel funds donated by Canadians to provide relief when emergency situations occur.
Among the emergencies that Development and Peace responded to in 1999-2000 and in recent years were the earthquakes in El Salvador and India, the war and continued drought that plagues the Horn of Africa, the flooding in Mozambique and Venezuela, the destruction in East Timor, and the devastation that resulted in Central America from Hurricane Mitch.
Reconstruction continues, thanks to the generosity and solidarity of Canadians.
SHARE LENT CONTRIBUTIONS
As of February 2001, people in the Edmonton Archdiocese donated $412,917 for Share Lent 2000, an increase of $52,983 over the previous year. Schools are to be commended for their amazing contribution of $18,557, which is the second highest contribution in Canada.
It is through this kind of dedication and financial support that Development and Peace is able to continue with much-needed development programs and that each of us can be involved in the Church's ministry of justice and love. Together we can make a difference!
Bishop Gerald Wiesner, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and honorary chair of the 2001 Share Lent Campaign, writes, "On behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I encourage all Canadian Catholics to share generously with our sisters and brothers around the world through Development and Peace, so that all may have according to their needs."
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