Project Aims to Heal the Wounds of 1 Billion Souls

Caritas-Rome Is Among Its Promoters

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ROME, NOV. 10, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The health ministers of dozens of countries will soon endorse a plan of action to help people psychologically scarred by violence and armed conflicts.

The plan to be endorsed next month in Rome will comprise health programs and projects for development and reconstruction.

It is estimated that 1 billion people are currently caught up in situations of war, terrorism and torture, which result in devastating psychological traumas whose effects last for decades.

The One Billion Project is named after their estimated number, giving an idea of the extent of this phenomenon and of the project’s scope.

Among others, the project presented last Wednesday in Rome is promoted by Caritas-Rome, Harvard University, the Higher Institute of Health, and the Assumption Institute of Higher Studies, together with numerous public institutions, such as the Latium Region and the Province of Rome, which have given their backing.

Initiated three years ago, the One Billion Project will reach a key phase with an international congress Dec. 3-4.

The director of Caritas-Rome, Monsignor Guerino Di Tora, explained that it will be the moment in which “the ministers of health of close to 50 countries will sign a document called an Action Plan, that is, a plan of international action to heal the ‘invisible wounds.'”

“Sadly, no democracy, no development, will on its own be able to relieve the sufferings of the victims of men’s cruelty. In their lives they will always have memories, circumstances, moments in which the past, their sufferings, and fears will reappear,” he added. “They are the wounds of the soul.”

The declaration of intentions, which will be signed in Rome by government representatives, agencies and international organizations of the scientific, medical and academic realm, will be the basis of future social and humanitarian interventions in postwar phases.

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ZENIT Staff

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