Cardinal Sarah Makes Appeal for Schools in Africa

Says a «Whole Generation» Is at Risk of Being Lost

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2011 ( To prevent future crises such as the severe food shortage facing the Horn of Africa, Cardinal Robert Sarah is urging the African communities to build more schools.

The African cardinal, who is the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, said this today at the press conference held on the severe drought and food crisis affecting the Horn of Africa. Cardinal Sarah is a native of Ourous, Guinea, located in West Africa.

The meeting with the press followed a gathering of various institutions of the Church on the situation of the East African countries.

«The issue is very dear to the Pope,» Cardinal Sarah stated. «He was among the first in the international realm who spoke about it last July 17. In the Wednesday General Audience of two days ago, he repeated his concern and his appeal to the international community.»

The Cor Unum president thanked «all the members of the Church for their commitment,» and added his reflections on the humanitarian emergency.

First, he wanted to urge the faithful around the world to not «forget their brothers so tested.»

«Today’s meeting,» he continued, «states that the answer of the Church is unitary, although realized by different individuals, diocese, agencies, associations, missionaries and religious institutes. It responds to the Pope’s desire to witness the charity of Christ and of the whole Church to suffering man. Where man suffers, God is close.»

Second, he urged nations to not enact policies that have put their own interests first, but rather to be «inspired to carry out a policy that has the common good truly at heart.»

«Only the quest for the common good makes it possible not to have winners and losers, executioners and victims, exploiters and hungry,» he said. «A vision of man and of society should prevail where recognized in the economic value is the importance due to it, but not the ultimate decision on good and evil.»

Finally, the cardinal turned to the issue of development, which he said is fundamentally the need for education.

«In fact, what is at stake today in the Horn of Africa?» he asked. «What is the peculiarity of this humanitarian emergency? In it are all the tragic ingredients that are present in similar crises: a catastrophic event — in this case the very long drought — the lack of health infrastructure, the insufficiency of qualified personnel to manage emergency situations, political instability, corruption, the endemic poverty of the territory, the lack of work.

«But there is a particular thing that worries me, and risks jeopardizing the future of this part of the African continent, and it is this: the millions of dispersed people that are wandering in search of survival, who tomorrow will become fugitives, illegal immigrants without a homeland, people who do not have a home, a job, a community. A whole generation risks being lost.»

Cardinal Sarah explained that schools bring communities together, and that «where there is a school, where there is education, there is a possible future, there will be work tomorrow, families will be formed.»

The Cor Unum president made a strong appeal to Christians: «Let us commit ourselves to build schools!»

«Once this emergency is surmounted, we must intervene in formation,» he said. «Here there is a special call for the Church, mother and educator as perhaps no other institution.

«Others perhaps are more adept and prepared to contribute to the reconstruction of houses and the health infrastructure necessary to render fitting the life of these millions of dispersed people. But we must be committed especially to education and the formation of upright consciences.»

«Henceforth I make an appeal,» the cardinal concluded, «a school in every village! I say it as an African: let us unite in the effort to help the Horn of Africa to give education, instruction, and culture to its children!»

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